Before this tea, the last time we bought a first flush tea from Castleton was in 2015. We were in Darjeeling at the time and had the good fortune to be able to buy directly from the factory.
The memory of the arriving at the top of the long bumpy road to the Castleton Estate and seeing the sign on the factory: “Top of the World” is a fond one, but it is not just for that reason we are delighted to have procured this tea. Castleton is a garden that can be relied on to consistently produce extremely good tea. Their teas are particularly prized for their unique muscatel flavour, comparable to that of sweet summer wines. For that reason they are prized by connoisseurs around the world and many batches are sold to buyers in Japan, America, the UK and the Middle East before they have even been produced.
The Castleton Tea Estate is split into different sections with altitudes ranging from 1000 – 1830 meters. This tea comes from a section on one of the lower elevations on the Estate (hence the somewhat early plucking date of 30th March).
A beautifully made tea with a nice mix of dark green intact leaves interspersed with nice light tips, the “Ch sp” in the name indicates that it is made exclusively from “China” plants. These are the type of plants to give the strongest muscatel notes. Bright and pale amber in the cup, the infusion is full bodied for a first flush, with a stronger mouthfeel than some of our other first flushes, with a slight hint of astringency and honey and mineral notes.