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 result 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 tea 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. A superb afternoon tea that is especially good with scones and raspberry conserve.
The unmatched flavour of Darjeeling Tea is not its only attraction.
The health-giving properties of tea have been written about for centuries. A Materia Medica of the 1st Century AD period attributed eighteen therapeutic properties to tea:
Relaxation of nerves
Brightening of eyes
Reduction of obesity
Cleansing the blood of heat and impurities
Treatment of abscesses
Elimination of phlegm
Cleansing the bowels