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This is the tea that helped make Darjeeling famous. It's a robust second flush black tea from the revered Castleton estate, and it's packed with the muscatel character that's uniquely found in this region - floral, slightly fruity and subtly sweet. There's real complexity lying beneath it, too, with notes of rose, geranium, hazelnut and caramel. It is, quite simply, the second flush Darjeeling.
Ingredients: 100% black 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 / 35g / 14 cups
Loose leaf black tea
Castleton Tea Estate, Kurseong District, Darjeeling, India
Muscatel, rose, hazelnut, caramel
On its own
Castleton represents second flush Darjeeling at its absolute peak. There's no greater expression of that muscatel flavour, and there's real complexity lying beneath it - notes of rose, geranium, hazelnut and caramel. The tea bushes here originally came from China, and are known as "China Jhat". China Jhat bushes have small leaves, which means they're absolutely packed with flavour. Their size makes them harder to pluck, and the extra time and effort required is one of the reasons Second Flush Darjeeling is so special. As well as the celebrated flavour, there's real history in each cup of Castleton Second Flush Darjeeling. Those leaves you're brewing were grown on a bush which could be up to 100 years old.
At the feet of the Himalayas some 5000ft above sea level, temperatures during winter fall well below zero. The cool temperatures put the tea bushes into a period of dormancy during these cold winter months. As the winter fades and temperatures rise with a promise of spring in the air, the bushes wake up and produce supple, sleepy young shoots and start their new cycle of growth. Having slept all winter and with temperatures still low, the bushes must draw their energy from nutrients deep within the soil. It's this first ‘flush’ of the bush that marks the start of the season. Tea produced during this first flush is lighter in flavour and carries more delicate, softer fruity and floral notes.
After the first flush, which lasts around three weeks, the bushes go into a period of rest again known as ‘bhanji’. Whilst resting, the temperatures rise, the sun shines and rain falls, all culminating in a period of optimum photosynthesis. It's at this point, when all the ingredients are present for perfect growth, that the second flush season begins. Having rested, the bushes wake up and shoot new buds in numbers with more energy and vibrancy than before. Tea produced during second flush carries more robustness, more body and more pungency and sweet notes of muscatel, hazelnut and rose. The second flush lasts for a window of just six weeks - one more reason why Darjeeling is so prized.