Saturday Morning Tea

Castleton2FDarjDry102415

Good morning, dear tea friends! It’s a chilly, overcast autumn day here in my corner of New England. On a day like this, I’m happy to warm my hands as well as my spirit with a hot cup of tea. Or two. Or three. Today’s tea is a second flush selection from the Castleton Estate in Darjeeling, northeastern India. This renowned estate produces high quality, classic Darjeelings every year.

Here’s some interesting information about the estate from an article by Shyamali Ghosh on World Tea News:

Castleton Tea Estate, perched in Darjeeling’s misty Kurseong South Valley, actually has a castle of sorts, as well as a history colored by storybook details. No one is sure of the castle’s origin, though it’s probably just a building left behind by a long-ago money lender.

Originally planted in 1885 by an enterprising Englishman, the estate has passed through the hands of Calcutta royalty, and still uses names rather than numbers to designate specific areas in the garden. The original name of this garden was Kumseri. The various sections of this gardens are known as Bhalu Khop (bear cave), Jim Basha (the erstwhile manager’s domain), Dhobitar (washerman’s clothes line) and Baseri (resting place).

I love reading stories about tea and its history.

Castleton2FDarjSteep102415

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 212F (boiling point) water.

A marvelous fruity fragrance greeted me as I poured my first cup.

Castleton2FDarjWet102415

As you can see, the liquor is a beautiful amber color. The flavor is rich with that characteristic Darjeeling “bite” awakening my palate.

Castleton2FDarj102415

I detected notes of muscatel, a warm toastiness and bright highlights, reminiscent of citrus, in the flavor. This tea is definitely strong enough to add a splash of milk but I encourage you to try it plain first and see what notes you find. This would make a lovely companion to a rich dessert.

Castleton2FDarjTeapot102415

I’m going to relax today and work on a new knitting project, a rosey pink cardigan for someone special. How are you spending your day?

The next time I join you for a cup of tea, I’ll be moved in to my new home. Until then, enjoy your tea!

 

 

Advertisements

Saturday Morning Tea

marchsnow.jpg

The first month of spring has entered on a wintry note as we are experiencing a blast of snow here in New England. This morning I am sipping a cup of Darjeeling black tea from the Arya estate called Arya Ruby.

aryarubydryleaf.jpg

Located in the lower range of the Himalayan mountains in northeast India, the Darjeeling district is home to many tea estates or “gardens” and is famous for the beautiful tea it produces. Called the “champagne of tea”, Darjeeling tea is prized for its delicate aroma and “muscatel” flavor notes. The Calcutta Tea Association defines the “muscatel” flavor as being “reminiscent of vineyards”, meaning a flavor like grapes and wine.

aryarubywetleaf.jpgaryarubywetleaf2.jpg

I was in awe as I gently smoothed the large, intact leaves out on my dish. I have read that this tea is produced from superior clonal bushes, meaning that they start a new tea plant from the cuttings of tea bushes that have produced remarkable teas. I believe that most of the tea bushes grown in Darjeeling originated from China bushes, called China “jat”.

aryarubyliquor.jpg

The aroma of the dry leaf is very nutty. Since the leaf is so big, I used 2 teaspoons per cup (6 oz.) and steeped for 3 minutes in boiling water. The flavor is very characteristic Darjeeling with the fruit, muscat flavor note. I just finished my first cup so it’s time to go make another cup. It’s still snowing…

marchsnow2.jpg