This week the PMD Tea Buyers Club moves away from the island of Ceylon to the highlands of the beautiful Indian hill station of Darjeeling.
Every time I think of Darjeeling teas, I think back to the time a good friend of mine bought a sample of this home on his way back from India. The lifting of the lid on the freshly brewed pot left my kitchen smelling like a florist.
Darjeeling is a small hill station, that was once the favoured retreat of the British during the hot Indian summers. While writing this from a very cold London, I wouldn't mind a trip to sub continent to get away from the harsh British winter. But I digress.
Darjeeling teas are grown at the foot hills of the Himalayas in the north east of India. Tea was first cultivated here in the 1850’s. By the mid 1860’s there where 39 tea gardens producing 21,000kg of tea. 10 years later the number of tea gardens had risen to a whooping 113.
Today Darjeeling has 80 active tea gardens that produce over 10 million kilos of Tea.
The altitude of the region reaches 7,000 feet at the highest parts. The unusual combination of high mountain air, cold winters and intense summer heat produce some of the worlds most exquisite tasting teas.
Darjeeling teas are known for their “Muscatel” character and flowery aroma. Many tea connoisseurs describe the teas from this region to be the Champagne of Tea.
Due to the unique changing weather patterns, unlike in most areas of the world Tea is not harvested all year round. There are four unique flushes that produce a variety of unique flavours during the course of the year.
During the months of November to early March the cold Indian winter sets in. The tea bush shuts down to protect itself. This cool spell sees the bush going into a state of survival. Much like the Uva season in Ceylon. The tea bush produces volatile oils, to keep it self alive from the extreme cold. The bush comes back into life in April when the spring sets in.
The first flush is picked at this time, the teas from this pick contain all the flavour that has been built up in the cells during the winter.
Second flush seasons comes into play during May to June. These teas have all the character of the first flush but tend to be more developed.
Towards the end of June the monsoon season arrives drenching the area with heavy rain. Due to the extreme steep slopes in the area, Tea planters here have to contend with managing the loss of their top soil that is essential to the growth of their tea. As with many tea growing regions the area does see landslides.
By September the weather dries a little and the final Autumnal flush teas are picked. Due to the monsoon the leaves contain a lot more moisture and require a much harder wither.
This week we tasted teas from the last years Autumnal flush. The teas contain that muscatel note but lack the flowery aroma that quality Darjeeling’s of the first and second flushes are known for.
Watch the full episode to get the full low down.
Today marks the start of Thai Pongal.
Thai Pongal is a harvest festival that is celebrated on a grand scale by the Tamils the world over.
The word ‘Pongal’ in Tamil means ‘to boil over’ and the milk boiling over from the clay pot is symbolic of abundance and prosperity for the household. Pongal signals the end of the traditional farming season, giving farmers a break from their monotonous routine. Traditionally, it is the festival of farmers who depend on Mother Earth, for a bountiful harvest of their staple foods.In Sri Lanka, the festival is celebrated in the North, the East, and the tea plantations in Central Hill Country.
The Plantations are the product of the British Colonial era. The present plantation workers are the descendants of migrants that where brought in from the Southern Indian states.
With the start of Thai Pongal it brings about a brief time of rest for workers in the plantations. PMD would like to wish a happy and joyous Pongal to all those celebrating this weekend.
Have a Happy Pongal!!
Fitness and getting healthy seem to be what is on everyones lips with this start of 2016.
As you all know the PMD Team is hard at work training towards running the Hotelympia 10K. Click here to read Fitness in the Business.
Episode #043 of the PMD Tea Buyers Club focuses on another product that is on the top of everyones list. Green Tea. Although this weeks episode does not focus on the health aspects of Green Tea. We do revisit a tea from a previous episode.
We are constantly on the push to raise the bar with not only in finding new teas, but to constantly improve the ones that customers know and love.
Last year Eranga Egodawele from Seevali Hills estate got in touch via Facebook and forwarded us some samples of his lovely Teas. They where so good that we swapped our buying for Planters Green Tea to Seevali Hills.
While there was big improvement in his teas to what we were using, there was room for improvement. Thankfully we didn't have to wait long to see the improvement. This episode we look at the leaf appearance produced by Seevali hills and see what the effect is on the final cup for the consumer.
This leaf is tightly rolled and has a beautiful jade green colour. The final cup is a lot darker with a more potent flavour. Thank fully the same sweetness that hits you right at the tip of your tongue is maintained.
Watch the full episode below and subscribe to the YouTube channel to stay up to date with all our latest episodes.
To learn more about Seevali Hills and their amazing tea click here.
Like most, you are probably starting the New Year with the usual business plans, career goals, but how about your health? What are your health goals for 2016?
Living a healthy lifestyle is paramount to me along with my career and business goals.
PMD will start this New Year as a proud exhibitor at Hotelympia 2016, which is UK’s largest foodservice and hospitality event. This is going to be a big event for PMD and for me as our first challenge for 2016. The PMD team is working very hard presently to make this event a success.
The Hotelympia show is from the 29th to the 3rd of March. To kick things of the organizers are have set up a 10K run on Sunday the 28th. The route sees the participants run around London’s beautiful docklands area.
PMD will be lacing up and joining in the hustle alongside other exhibitors. For us as a team, the best part of being involved is that the race is for a great cause. All proceeds from the race go to “The Spring Board Charity” who helps young, disadvantaged and unemployed people improve their prospects. You can learn more about Spring Board here: (www.springboard.uk.net)
As part of our training schedule we are sipping on some of the healthiest Teas in our collection. My personal favorite before a run in the morning is our Planters Green that has a fresh, sweet and reinvigorating taste. Why not try it for yourself here www.pmdtea.com and subscribe to the PMD Blog on You Tube to see our progress
Have a good weak ahead!