Made from only the finest tender shoots plucked from our clonal sections during the onset of spring, this stylishly made tea with a beautiful bloom and an abundance of silver tips is pure springtime in a cup.
A place where the magnificent peaks of the 3rd highest mountain in the world, Mount Kanchenjunga ascend over the tea bushes - a name that literally means what this 750 hectare estate is - A River Valley.
Country of Origin: India
Region: Darjeeling - Northern India
Shipping Port: Calcutta/Haldia
Grade: FTGFOP (Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe)
Altitude: 4200 - 6300 feet above sea level
Manufacture Type: Orthodox
Cup Characteristics: Bright liquoring, full round and fruity
Infusion: Tends light liquoring with subtle astringency and classic muscatel character
2nd flush Darjeelings are typified as being more complex and fuller in the cup than the 1st Flush varieties which tend to be a little greener and lighter. Darjeelings are considered among the rarest and most prestigious of the black teas. The best grades are the whole leaf types with lots of 'tip'. This tea is the grade F.T.G.F.O.P. (finest tippy golden flowery orange pekoe) and is in the upper 10 percentile of Castleton's quality.
The estate is near the town of Kurseong in the Darjeeling district of northern India. Castleton is one of the top estates in Darjeeling and consistently produces top teas - and not surprisingly obtains the top prices. The major method of transportation to Darjeeling is road (very treacherous) and a narrow gauge railway. In world terms the railway is almost considered a toy railroad system. The narrow gauge does not support large engines or carriages, also the steep inclines necessitate a cog system to prevent to trains from rolling backwards. Despite all the difficulties that must be contended with, the area produces the 'Champagne of Tea'.
Produced in the Himalayas, Darjeelings are grown in the shadow of Kangchenjunga, the snow capped mountain said to be home of the Hindu God Shiva -the Destroyer. Darjeeling means land of the Thunderbolt and it is in fact the weather, combined with the attitude, soil and bright sunlight that results in an incomparable beverage.
The are 3 main times of year for producing good quality Darjeelings:
1st flush - Springtime harvested teas from late Feb. to mid April. The young leaves yield a light tea with generally intense muscatel with 'point'. A gentle afternoon tea.
2nd flush - Harvested in June, these teas are more fully developed. The liquor is bright and the taste full and round excellent muscatel. An superb afternoon tea that is especially good with scones and raspberry conserve.
Autumnal - Not always available depending upon the weather, they are typified by a round taste and coppery liquor. Excellent as a breakfast tea with milk.
Hot tea brewing method: This tea is best enjoyed using 2-3 heaping teaspoons for a 6 cup teapot. Allow the tea to steep for 3-5 minutes, remove the leaves and pour. We do not recommend adding milk or sugar since this can mask some of the intrigue and subtle nuances of this vintage tea.
Iced tea brewing method (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 5 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water].