Darjeeling is a special place, nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, home to over seventy different tea estates. In order protect the reputation of Darjeeling tea, these estates have been given special status by the Tea Board of India, which guarantees the source of Darjeeling tea. (Source: www.teaboard.gov.in)
The taste of Darjeeling is ultimately what has given it its unparalleled reputation for quality worldwide. The most renowned Darjeeling tea either comes from the first or second flush. The first flush includes harvested teas from late Feb. to mid April. Harvested in June, the second flush teas are more fully developed. Both flushes are as wonderful as the other but hold different flavors. The tea which is harvested in spring – when the leaves are small – hold a light and floral flavor and those pulled in the second flush hold a strong and bold taste.
The taste most commonly associated with Darjeeling tea is that of ‘muscatel’, a grape that is commonly used in wine production. The liquor of Darjeeling tea is a golden, bright color, while the flavor is bright and aromatic, with notes of warm spice. Darjeeling teas also feature fresh citrusy, fruity notes.
Each season, The Tea Smith staff spends a considerable amount of time sampling the Darjeeling offerings until we find teas that we are proud to offer to our customers.
Margaret’s Hope is a world famous name when it comes to Darjeeling tea. Planted about a century
ago, the unusual name ‘Margaret’s Hope’ was given to the garden in 1927, by the owner Mr. Cruikshank. His daughter, Margaret, captivated by the beauty, had a deep attachment to the garden. Unfortunately, she died of a tropical disease while traveling years later. Her father named the garden in her memory. Margaret’s Hope, is as romantic a place as its name suggests. Occasional views of the Himalayan peaks, the abundance of trees, the wild flowers and streams appear to beckon the China bushes to create some of the most exquisite teas in the country. Once you experience the flavor and sweetness of this tea, you will understand why Margaret’s Hope is listed among the very top of Darjeeling estates and boasts of a very devoted following.
Located in Mirik Valley, Gopaldhara is one of the highest tea estates in Darjeeling and is known for exquisite quality teas.
In 1881, the original planters started planting teas on lush green fields that belonged to a person named ‘Gopal’. As the fields were combined with numerous natural streams, called ‘dharas’ in the local language, a combination of the two gave the name ‘Gopaldhara’ to the planted tea fields.
An exquisitely aromatic and floral spring black tea, Gopaldhara Queens has energizing notes of sweet fruits and subtle grassy hints of coriander in the background. The leaves display beautiful shades of green and the liquor is light golden. The finish is smooth, long and sweet. An excellent, must have first flush tea.
Tips for Making the Perfect First Flush Cuppa
Add one teaspoon per person, plus ‘one for the pot’, to a warmed teapot. Bring water to the boil then wait for the water to cool about 30 degrees, then pour over the leaves. Allow to brew for 3-5 minutes and stir prior to serving. First Flush Darjeeling is best drunk without milk. First Flush Darjeeling is a perfect afternoon refreshment, and the ideal accompaniment to a freshly baked scone.