HELP!!! Empty Cups in Palm Springs! Darjeeling Advice Needed!

It finally happened. We’ve polished off all of our Assam, and the Sencha is running thin too. It’s time to make a substantial tea order.

As far as the Sencha goes, we’ll probably just get a kilo of Upton’s Japanese Sencha. This is because the price is right and shipping is within the US. Also, it’s of sufficient quality for what we’re doing with it – which is making Sencha ice cubes and drinking Iced Sencha all day.

Now, when it comes to picking a black tea, things get much trickier. We’d like a kilo of Darjeeling this time around, but we can’t decide which one! @peter suggested Lochan Tea Limited a few weeks ago, and we were just browsing their site today. We only found two teas that are within our price range, and (having never tried either one of them) we were wondering if they are decent teas for the price.

1) First off, there’s the First Flush, Organic Sourenee FTGFOP 1 CH selling at $4.50 per 100 grams.

2) Second, there’s the Second Flush Giddpahar  SFTGFOP 1 CH SPL selling for $4.00 per 100 grams.

Please comment below if you’ve ever tried either of these or know anything about them. Also, if you’ve ever ordered from Lochan, because we were having a hard time figuring out how shipping works and how much it costs.

The other option for us is to just order the Darjeeling from Upton Tea Imports with the Sencha, because their shipping is always $4.20 within the US. However, when you search Upton’s website for Darjeeling, over 60 different teas come up and four of them are within our price range (none of them we’ve ever tried before).

 1) TD06: Orthodox BOP Darjeeling selling for $40.40 per kilo

2) TD20: Orthodox TGFOP Darjeeling selling for $37.80 per kilo

3) TD22: Steinthal Estate TGBOP First Flush (DJ-25) Organic selling for $44.20 per kilo

4) TD23: Rohini Estate FTGFOP1 Cl. Second Flush (DJ-79) selling for $44.20 per kilo

Please comment below if you’ve tried any of these Darjeeling from Upton or Lochan. Also, let us know if there’s any other Darjeelings that you can recommend for $50 or less per kilo including shipping. We’re really having trouble making a decision here and could use some advice!

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11 thoughts on “HELP!!! Empty Cups in Palm Springs! Darjeeling Advice Needed!

  1. I have a few thoughts on this.

    First of all, when I started with Darjeelings, I appreciated the 2nd flush sorts more. My taste developed and I got slowly into 1st & autumnal flushes, but it was almost as if my tastebuds had to grow into those more delicate flavours.

    Although I’ve heard a lot about Lochan, I don’t have any personal experience. Upton is a fantastic company and I’ve had only good experiences.

    Might I also recommend the Tea Campaign (https://www.bostonteacampaign.com/en-us/0_0.html)? I’ve blogged about this company that started with an economics professor in Berlin showing his students how to build a mail order company. Their philosophy is to spend ABSOLUTELY nothing on advertising/marketing. Not a penny.

    Germans have been ordering these kilo sacks of top-shelf Darjeeling for years. The company has since expanded to Japan and the US (Boston). Think you’ll find the quality and the price are above-average.

    Another great source for both excellent tea and information about Darjeeling tea in general is Darjeeling Tea Express (http://www.darjeelingteaxpress.com/). Have had very good experiences with this site. Will be getting more tea from them to review soonish and it’s always good.

    Hope that helps. As much as I have a tea problem, it’d be more accurately described as a Darjeeling problem.

  2. Ah! lahikmajoe! Thank you so much! This is the type of information that I needed. Although, you’ve opened me up to even more options than I had on my plate before! I can tell that we’re really going to have to think about this.
    Your advice about second flushes is not lost on me, and, being new to Darjeeling, I can at least narrow my search to second flushes only. I explored the other sites that you mentioned. One of them was sold out of second flushes and the other was a little out of our price range. Either way, I found both sites very informative and am very grateful that you took the time to comment!

    Right now, it looks like we’re deciding between:
    Lochan’s Second Flush Giddpahar SFTGFOP 1 CH SPL at $40 per kilo
    or
    Upton’s TD23: Rohini Estate FTGFOP1 Cl. Second Flush (DJ-79) at $44.20 per kilo

    So, any information from anyone who’s tried either of these teas or ordered from Lochan before would be greatly appreciated!

    • AHAH!!! Thanks for the tip lazyliteratus! I had nearly made up my mind to order both teas from Upton before you said that. Now, I definitely want Lochan’s Second Flush Giddpahar SFTGFOP 1 CH SPL at $40 per kilo. However, I’m still having a hard time figuring out how their shipping works, and I don’t want to spend $50 getting $40 worth of tea to my door! From what I can tell, it seems like you buy shipping credits per unit at 1 Indian Rupee each. However, that makes our shipping cost like 40 cents or something and that can’t be right.

      Has anyone ordered from Lochan Tea Limited before who can help me figure their shipping out???

      • Hi,

        I stumbled onto your post while browsing the website. we can offer the Giddapahar to you at 40 USD inclusive of shipping.

        we have a limited time special shipping offer till 17th so feel free to order what ever you want. all shipping charges are removed till then!!

  3. Hi Brian,
    Lochan is a very reputable merchant and you won’t have any problems ordering from them. I’ve tried both of the teas you’re interested in and the Sourenee is definitely the better tea of the two. But generally, Sourenee is better known for their second flush teas than their first flushes.
    First vs. second flush teas is a question of personal taste, rather than ‘easier for beginners’. Second flush Darjeelings have a fuller body, so they might be easier for some people who are used to drink strong teas. First flush teas are much lighter/more floral and are often easier for people who enjoy white/green teas.

    @lahikmajoe: One thought about Tee Kampagne. They used to be cheap and they used to be better than the average Darjeeling you got in Germany. But the market has changed immensely in the last 20 years. It’s now possible to get decent single estate Darjeelings (not the blends that TK sells for the most part) at very competitive prices and the price advantage of TK has completely changed. They seem expensive to me now if compared to some teas from the middle price range that are much better. But that’s my personal opinion. A lot of people that I know have stopped ordering their tea as well, since we’ve come a long way from the initial 30 DM per kg…

  4. Just saw your comment on the shipping for Lochan Tea. Send an email to Vivek (vivek@lochantea.com) and he’ll sort you out. Their shipping cost is definitely on the cheaper side.
    Just as an idea, why don’t you order 500g of each of the two teas?

    • @yaya, Thanks for Vivek’s email, but now I’m leaning more towards the Sourenee on your recommendation! You are the first comment-er who’s tried both and has first-hand knowledge of these specific teas. Although, I’m going to hold off on my order for just a little longer to see if anyone else has any advice. Thanks so much for your input yaya!!!

      Also, a few people have suggested that I get 500 grams of each. The whole idea here is to keep my tea order $100 or under and ordering less of each just makes the price go up! Whatever I decide, I’m sure that we’ll end up with a decent black tea for the morning.

  5. We ordered several teas from Lochan tea and I’d recommend that company to anyone. Really enjoyed the teas and the shipping was fast. Also very good customer service, they replied to my emails within 24 hours whenever I had a question. They are considerably cheaper than many other companies, now I wouldn’t bother with some of the other ones out there! In fact I almost get a little peeved, that some charge so much for the same tea.

    Off the top of my head, I know we ordered: Jungpana 6.50 USD, Goomtee FTGFOP 1 CLASSIC – 5.50 USD + Sourenee FTGFOP 1 CH – 4.50 USD + Risheehat SFTGFOP 1 CH – 5.50 USD
    We also had some other 2nd flushes which I just loved! Can’t remember what they were without checking, need to look it up. When we got those teas, the 2nd flushes were only 3 weeks old, awesome!

    Just make sure your 2nd and 1st flushes are all 2011, some companies don’t always specify, and some are 2010. I actually ordered a 2nd flush 2010 too, as well as the 2011, just for comparison.

    I also like Upton very much as a company, they are very reliable. I order teas from them that I can’t get from Lochan.

    Of course by now you may have ordered, in which case let me know what you got. Oh, and I agree with @yaya, the Sourenee is one my favorites!

    J.

  6. @bigfacebrian: I’ve re-tasted some of the Giddpahar SFTGFOP 1 CH SPL and some Giddpahar FTGFOP for you today again and must say that I like the second one better (although it’s a slightly lower grade). I don’t have any of the Soureni First Flush at hand, but I do remember that I did like it, although not as much as their second flush teas (I had some of the Soureni second flush today as well and it was nice).
    @jackie: I was thinking of pointing Brian towards you since you ordered from Lochan recently. I hope you’re enjoying your trip…

  7. Thank you so much to everyone who responded to Empty Cups in Palm Springs! I value all of your opinions, and I couldn’t have made a decision on a good Darjeeling without you. In another six months, you might see another “Empty Cups in Palm Springs” blog, and I hope that you’ll all be there to guide me through that decision too! ;)

    I hate myself! Last night, In a fit of nervousness regarding our tea situation; I made a snap decision and decided to order our tea. This morning, I received a confirmation email telling me that 1000g of Japanese Sencha and Rohini Estate FTGFOP1 Cl. Second Flush have entered the packing process and will ship within 24 hours. The total price of the order was $103 with shipping. So, we only went 3 dollars over budget.

    This morning, I awoke to find @jackie and Vivek’s comments, and I feel like a fool. With Vivek’s free shipping offer, the order would have only been $98.60 – $1.40 under budget and $4.40 cheaper than Upton! (Can you tell that I do taxes for a living?)

    In the end, I went with Upton because I’ve been drinking their tea since I was a teenager, and I know exactly what to expect from them. Although, I’ll admit that I would have rather left my bubble to try Lochan’s Giddpahar free of shipping this time around. Oh well. Maybe next time!

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