Production area: Darjeeling, Western Bengal
Harvest season: Mid-March
The ancient garden of Sungma is directly opposite the Gopaldhara garden, on the other side of the valley, where the Balasun River flows. It is administered by a professional agronomist, Mr. Jah, one of the most experienced and respected managers in the region. Planted in 1863, the garden is still composed of 80 percent original Chinese varieties to which clones (15 percent) and C. s. van assamica (5 percent) hybrids have been added. Over the past few years, this garden has become one of the best in the region and regularly produces high-quality tea. Supported by a high proportion of ancient Chinese plants, the classic teas it produces are among the best there are.
Tasting notes: The dry, uniformly shaped leaves, ranging from light brown to pale green, look caned for and include many silvery buds. The liquid is dark for a first picking and gives off a fragrance of wild flowers. The mouth feel is well structured, revealing pronounced aromas that open onto a fruity note. The unctuous texture shows remarkable balance. The full finish leads to aromas of muscat grape and delicate accents of peach.
Recommended infusion accessory: A Chinese tea cup or zhong.