I've found the Benchmark for Darjeeling First Flush

Tea :      Darjeeling Singell SFTGFOP1

Producer:  House of Tea

Website: House of Tea  (this tea is not listed on website but you can call to purchase)

Website description:  A first flush, harvested in in the first 10 pluckings of the season , smooth, with muscatel and lasting floral notes.

Brewing Specs

Water:  240 ml/ approximately 8 oz

Temperature: 195 F

Steep Time: 3 minutes for 3 gm

My Review System: https://artofthepair.com/tea-overview/

My Overall Impression (Score of 89.5 %)

I’m a huge fan of First Flush Darjeeling and I try to seek these out when I have the opportunity to find some.  My recent visit to the House of Tea a few months back led me to getting some of this.  Now, following their directions, I brewed my sample cup like always.  The aroma prior to brewing was similar to other Darjeeling samples I’ve tried.  That’s where the similarity ends.

This organic blend has to be the smoothest cup of tea that I’ve ever had.  In fact, in my notes, the first thing I wrote was clean and F$^#) smooth ( I think you know where I’m going with this).  Completely balanced on all fronts from mouthfeel to combined flavors, this is one of the best reviews I’ve had the pleasure of giving.  I’m saving this for Christmas morning, for family visits or special occasions or really bad days.  It’s not cheap as you will see below.  However, it’s worth it and I will definitely get some more on my next visit.

You may ask why spend so much when there are other options out there (especially with all of my reviews).  One major reason:

  • When you have something this good, you are willing to pay for the quality.

The price as of 12/20/23 is $79.95 Can for 100 gm.

Broken down:

  • 100 gm / 3 gm for steeping = 33 cups
  • 33 cups from package = $2.42 Can per cup

Typically, I double steep all my teas (use the tea twice) so I can get 66 cups or approximately $1.21 per cup.  You can steep this one for a third time without a loss of flavor.

Side Note:  This is one where I vac seal in smaller portions to ensure that the quality is maintained plus stored away from light and temperature swings.


  • In the bag, you get notes of toasted green malt, dried grass (like left on a lawnmower), muscadel and herb qualities (thyme and oregano).
  • This is followed by hints of dried peach, tobacco, toast, and soil. No sweetness evident.
  • Once brewed, it shows deep green malt filled with grass, green veggies (such as zucchini), fresh garden peas and herbs.
  • This is followed by delicate notes of floral, toffee and mace.


  • The first sip brough the note of freaking clean and smooth. It felt so delicate on the palate with gentle flavors, and everything was integrated from the mouthfeel to flavors, acidity, etc.
  • The flavors of sweet green malt, light amounts of white pepper, hints of citrus (reminded me of a citrus punch as nothing stood out from another) finishing with a biscuit/cookie note.
  • It also shows very light green vegetables, parsley, sage, thyme, and fresh garden peas taken directly from the pods.
  • First tea that I’ve had that the sweetness is barely off dry, but the acidity, tannin and body are all medium based (highly unified).


  • Aromas (4.3/5)
  • Flavors (9.0/10)
  • Overall impression (4.6/5)
    • Total score = 89.5 percent (17.9/20)

Foods to Pair and Why

  • I will have to either save some or purchase some more to have when my garden is in production. I would love to serve this with fresh picked vegetables (Peas, lettuce, baby zucchini and yellow squash), goat cheese crumbled and serve these raw with the tea used in the vinaigrette.
  • I would avoid bold and sweet items so you can enjoy this tea. Therefore, I would love to serve some tea cookies or light shortbread with these.
  • I would love to serve this with some poached chicken (poached in Darjeeling infused liquid) that has been shredded and mixed into a farro salad base.
  • I have no idea why this hit me when I was thinking but I’d love some warmed triple cream brie and Triscuits with this.
  • I’m not a fan of tea sandwiches but I could see this served with a watercress sandwich.
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