Tasting Notes: Gorgeously smooth light umber liquor with notes of coffee, caramel, and roasted hazelnut
This Grand Cru Darjeeling from the Castleton Estate Garden is a gorgeous infusion and an essential tea for every black tea connoisseur. The Castleton gardens have been producing gorgeous teas for over 130 years and are one of the most prestigious in the region. This year's 2nd Flush boasts copper-colored leaves and buds that release a spicy floral nose that develops into a rich and earthy brew with a well balanced but sustained tannin.
Darjeeling is a tea growing region in India with a relatively recent history of tea production (in comparison with some Chinese regions that have been cultivating tea for thousands of years). Though the tea tree camellia sinensis is native to parts of India, it wasn't until the British Colonial government began putting tea nurseries in the area that large tea estates were planted in the mid-1800s.
Darjeeling tea is unique in that most major estates harvest 4 different flushes each year, with the same tea bushes creating four teas distinct in character and flavor but all generally categorized as black teas. In contrast, while we do see some Chinese black teas being produced from buds and young leaves like the golden bud varietals: Jin Die and Yunnan Da Ye, it is typical for spring and summer harvests in China to be used for white and green teas.
It is understandable, then that a 1st Flush Darjeeling (harvested March-May 1) may bee much closer in character to green tea and tends to have a mild liquor with a floral aroma. 2nd Flush Darjeeling (harvested end of May - end of June) is a bit more mature in aroma and liquor, and it is this 2nd Flush that may yield the renowned, slightly sweet muscatel flavor in your Darjeeling. The 3rd Flush (harvested July-September 22) produces a darker Darjeeling and is made difficult to produce due to Monsoon season. The 4th Flush or Autumnal Flush (harvested end of September - early November) yields an even stronger liquor with a unique aroma full of autumn sunshine.
A colonial tea, we recommend brewing your Darjeeling in a Western-style teapot. Depending on the flush, you may anticipate 2-4 beautiful steeps from each portion of leaves. We also highly recommend your Darjeeling cold brewed for a refreshing and bold iced tea!
Black teas are fully oxidized tea leaves that are created by the will of the producer to create a robust and structured cup. Bearing this in mind, they are the most likely to become bitter and astringent if over brewed. Black tea should be brewed between two and four minutes, according to the style of the tea and your taste, with water just off boil at around 205 degrees. Our high quality black teas may be infused multiple times and will yield different expressions in each infusion.
What is Black Tea?
Black teas are made from fully oxidized leaves. The Chinese refer to black teas as "red teas" in reference to the copper colored of their infusion. Developed in the 18th century, the production process of black tea begins with withering of the leaves, and then moves to rolling, oxidation, drying, sorting, sifting and sometimes, an optional firing.
Health Benefits of Black Tea
Congratulations, if you are drinking tea, you have already chosen an incredible, healthful beverage. Tea is considered in many cultures to have medicinal properties. All tea comes from the same plant family, camellia sinensis, and therefore all types and styles contain the same components that contribute to significant health benefits. Influence of the varietal, growing conditions, production techniques, and your brewing practices play a role in the antioxidant and caffeine levels of your cup. Although black tea is considered to have higher caffeine than other tea types this is not necessarily true, and we encourage you to read your body's response to each tea, as caffeine levels in any category can vary from tea to tea.