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Darjeeling is the Mary Poppins of tea regions: it's practically perfect in every way. The soil's perfect, the climate's perfect and the people who pluck and process it rely much more on their own skills than machinery - which makes the flavour pretty perfect too.
And of all Darjeeling's tea gardens, Castleton may be the one with the mightiest reputation - it's famous for growing some of the very best tea in the region. This tea was picked at Castleton on April 18. It's from the first flush - the very start of the season, when the tea is at its lightest and most delicate.
Ingredients: 100% white 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 white tea
Castleton Tea Estate, Kurseong District, Darjeeling, India
Sweet, delicate, tropical fruit notes
On its own
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'.
Barpakha 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.
A white tea is one that hasn’t gone under any oxidation- it is simply plucked, delicately rolled and dried capturing all the soft and delicate characteristics in the supple buds. When a tea is oxidised, a more robust character develops. This white tea captures the delicate nuances in the supple bud, providing a lighter, more delicate cup with a silky smooth texture.