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This is a one-of-a-kind oolong tea plucked at the absolute peak of the Darjeeling Second Flush season in June. Made exclusively for us by the Castleton Tea Estate, it comes from a specially selected variety of tea bushes that grow on a particular part of the estate with the perfect soil, altitude and climate to draw out Darjeeling’s famous muscatel flavour notes. The oolong has been made to our exact specifications to create a unique flavour with notes of soft fruits and a floral finish.
Ingredients: 100% oolong tea leaves. To store, just reseal the pack and keep it in the cupboard. Blended and packed in the UK by Taylors of Harrogate, HG2 7LD.
Free P&P / 21g / 14 cups
Loose leaf oolong tea
Castleton Tea Estate, Kurseong District, Darjeeling, India
Soft fruits, muscatel, floral
On its own
All teas come from the same bush – camellia sinensis. Once plucked, the way it's processed determines whether it's white, green, oolong or black tea.
It's all about oxidation - the leaves are bruised and exposed to oxygen, which develops the flavour to varying degrees.
The least processed tea is white tea, which undergoes no oxidation at all. Next on the scale is green tea, which is very slightly oxidised. And at the far end of the scale is black tea, which is fully oxidised.
Anything that sits part of the way along that oxidation scale is oolong. This partially fermented style of tea offers a balance between the bright, freshness of green and white teas and the flavour and body of black teas.
Oxidation times can differ depending on the desired results. This oolong comes from a special part of the estate with a unique, slightly fruity character, so our Senior Tea Buyer, Suzy, asked Castleton to go with a slightly longer oxidation to draw out that flavour.
It's one of the oldest tea estates in the municipality of Darjeeling, where the first bushes were planted in 1884 - coincidentally, just two years before Taylors was founded. The spot was chosen because of it's perfect mix of tea-growing conditions: nutrient-rich soil, an ideal climate, the perfect altitude and slopes that see just the right amount of sunshine.
It's incredibly steep at points, which makes it one of the toughest places in the world to pluck tea, but the flavour makes the effort worthwhile. And the views aren't bad either - on a clear day, you can look out from the top of the estate and see Kangchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world.
Clonal tea is just what it sounds like - a clone, or a hybrid. Just as the Autumn Glory apple is a hybrid of the Golden Delicious apple and the Fuji apple, so two different tea bushes can be bred together to create something with unique traits.
It lets tea growers experiment, finding varieties that are really well suited to their unique region, with its specific soil, climate and altitude.
This tea is a clonal variety called AV2, and it's grown on a very specific patch of the Castleton Tea Estate known as 'Barpakha'.
It faces north west and stands at between 4600ft and 5000ft above sea level, and has a unique soil composition and climate which AV2 tea bushes take to like a duck to water. The result is tea with a flavour that's completely unique. As a white tea, it's sweet and delicate with soft notes of tropical fruit.
It's a fantastic example of the character and flavour clonal tea can offer. And it's super-fresh, manufactured during the early morning on April 18, 2018, at the peak of the first flush harvest.