The next stop through the samples of first flush 2014 Darjeeling teas, sent by the always generous Lochan family or Lochan Tea Limited, is the package from my favorite Darjeeling estate, Margaret’s Hope Estate. Margaret’s Hope is located in the Kurseong North Valley of the Darjeeling district of India.
This review will focus on the fresh first flush harvest of 2014. This is the Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (FTGFOP) 1 HS. The sample packet has been opened, and already my preference for the teas of Margaret’s Hope is being reaffirmed.
Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves vary in color from light to dark green, reddish-brown, light to dark brown, and black. There are some silver tips and bare stems in the mix. The leaves are all small to medium sized fragments, and are lightly rolled. The aroma has scents of sweet wood, caramel, honey, and very light spring flowers (hyacinth, lilac).
Ten grams of dry leaves were placed in an eighteen ounce (530 ml) cast-iron teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 195°F (90°C). The leaves were infused for two minutes thirty seconds, with thirty seconds being added to subsequent infusions.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, golden yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma is simply incredible, with dominant scents of hyacinth and lilac, as well as very light honey, and very light wood. The body is medium, with a lively, yet velvety texture. The taste is very fresh and floral, with perfect notes of hyacinth, lilac, very light wood, and perhaps a very light caramel hint. The aftertaste is remarkably floral, and the essence left on the breath is potent and persistent. Finishing the last sip of this pot was a sad moment for me. Thankfully, I have enough left in the sample packet to adequately supply my Tokoname kyusu tonight.
The second infusion produced a liquor with a less bright, but overall similar color to the first infusion. The aroma, body, taste, and aftertaste all lightened some, but retain all of the same general notes. Despite the overall lighter characteristics, this second infusion was still very enjoyable, and held its properties better than many other first flush Darjeeling teas do.
The third infusion ended up being very light in all respects, as expected. However, I had no trouble drinking the entire pot. If you do not mind a light tasting tea, then the third infusion may keep you satisfied.
The infused leaves varied in color from light forest green to a light brown and reddish-brown color. All leaves were small and medium fragments. There were some medium sized tips and a few bare stems in the mix. The leaves had soft, delicate texture. The aroma had scents of wet spring flowers and wet wood.
I have quite a few samples from Lochan Tea to get through, but perhaps I should have left the Margaret’s Hope sample for last, because now all of the other samples may not excite me as much as this one did. This tea was incredible in all respects, and the first infusion was seriously an awesome collection of moments. The bright, lively color of the first infusion was beautiful, but sadly my appreciation of it was short-lived, as the aroma was among the best that I have experienced. This aroma was so freshly floral, and it could honestly transport one to a field of freshly opened spring flowers. The taste had the same effect, as well as the aftertaste. This tea had a very strong uplifting energy to it. I have used this descriptive word a number of times in this review, and it sums this tea up perfectly, incredible.
Thank you to the Lochan family, and to all of the people who make this phenomenal tea possible. Cheers!