Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP1 HS 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea from Lochan Tea

Today’s review is taking me back to my favorite tea estate in the Darjeeling district of India, the Margaret’s Hope Tea Estate, located in the Kurseong North Valley. This sample of FTGFOP1 HS 2nd Flush 2014 was provided by Lochan Tea. I have covered the basic details of Margaret’s Hope Tea Estate in several previous posts, so I will spare you all the redundancy of repeating those details here.

The sample packet has been opened, and a dominantly floral and woody smell is escaping the packet. Let the journey begin…

Margaret's Hope FTGFOP1 HS 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Dry Leaves
Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP1 HS 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves range in color from yellowish-green to reddish-brown to black. There are some light brown, small and bare stems in the mix, as well as a few silver bud fragments. The leaves are all small to medium sized fragments, and are machine rolled. There is some inconsistency with the size and shape of the leaves. The leaves are very dry, and crack easily into coarse crumbs. The smell has scents of wood, toasted seeds, dried grapes, roses, caramel, honey, and hay.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.

My suggestion for at home preparation is to use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 205°F (96°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 to 4:00 minutes. Expect two infusions out of the same serving of leaves, and expect the second infusion to be significantly lighter than the first, but still worth drinking. Add 1:00 minute to the second infusion steep time.

Margaret's Hope FTGFOP1 HS 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infusion
Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP1 HS 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a warm golden orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma consists of scents of roses, geraniums, grapes, honey, toasted seeds, caramel, and light hay. The body is medium, with a gentle and velvety texture. There is a mild astringency. The taste is dominantly floral, with notes of roses, geraniums, grapes, honey, toasted grains, hay, caramel, light wood, and light spice. The liquor leaves a honey like coating on the tongue. The aftertaste carries the grape and floral notes, and a lingering sweet essence is left on the breath.

Margaret's Hope FTGFOP1 HS 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infused Leaves
Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP1 HS 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves range in color from pale forest green to copper to purplish-brown. The leaves are all small to medium sized fragments, and there some small bare stems and bud fragments in the mix. Stems display a two leaf and bud pluck. The leaves have a soft, delicate texture. The smell has scents of wood, roses, geraniums, grapes, hay, and honey.

The FTGFOP1 HS 2nd Flush 2014 Tea from Margaret’s Hope Tea Estate did not disappoint. With a dominantly floral aroma and taste, this tea gave the tongue and olfactory glands a stroll through a field of summer flowers, a welcome detour from the 20°F temperatures awaiting outside my office. The floral character is complimented very nicely by the sweet and toasty tones. The texture and honey-like coating on the tongue completes an overall phenomenal experience, as I have come to expect from the teas from Margaret’s Hope.

Thank you to the Lochan family at Lochan Tea for providing this sample. Cheers!

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Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP1 King Clonal Musk 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea from Surajmukhi Tea

Today’s review will focus on the FTGFOP1 King Clonal Musk 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea from the Margaret’s Hope Tea Estate in the Kurseong North Valley of the Darjeeling area of India. I have covered various details of the Margaret’s Hope Tea Estate in previous posts, so I will skip the redundancy in covering those details in this post. This sample was provided by Surajmukhi Tea.

The King Clonal, or Clonal King as other estates call it, from Margaret’s Hope is not one of the varieties of theirs that I have had before. As I have said many times, Margaret’s Hope produces my favorite Darjeeling teas, regardless of the season. Any time I receive a new variety from this beautiful tea estate, it will end up getting reviewed on this blog.

The sample packet has been opened, and the sweet, floral, yet uniquely robust aroma that Darjeeling “musk” teas are known for can be immediately recognized. Let the journey begin…

Margaret's Hope FTGFOP1 King Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Dry Leaves
Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP1 King Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in color from light copper-brown to black, with a generous portion of silver tips. The leaves are all medium sized fragments, and are machine rolled. There are a few stems in the mix. The tips are mostly whole and unbroken, and are covered in soft, downy-like hairs. The leaves crack easily, but do not crumble, and have a somewhat rigid texture. The aroma is very sweet and floral, with scents of grapes, chocolate, roses, light spice, and a light white musk hint. The aroma is impressive.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.

My suggestion for at home preparation is to use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 195°F (90°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 minutes. Expect to get two quality infusions out of the same serving of leaves. For the second infusion, steep the leaves for 4:00 minutes.

Margaret's Hope FTGFOP1 King Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infusion
Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP1 King Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infusion

Sorry, the photo of the infusion did not turn out as nicely detailed as it originally looked on the small screen. Anyway, the first infusion produced a liquor with a bright reddish-orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of roses, grapes, light chocolate, light caramel, and light white musk. The body is medium-full, with a caramel-like texture. The taste has notes of roses, grapes, chocolate, caramel, and light white musk. There is a mild astringency. The aftertaste carries the grape and floral notes, and even the essence left on the breath has hints of grapes.

Margaret's Hope FTGFOP1 King Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infused Leaves
Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP1 King Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a fairly uniform copper brown color, some leaning to a green-copper, others leaning to brown. The leaves are all medium sized fragments. Most of the tips are whole and unbroken, and measure about 3/4 inch to 1 inch (18 to 25mm). The leaves have a soft, thin, smooth texture. The aroma has scents of roses, grapes, light white musk, and light chocolate.

Another strong showing from a product from Margaret’s Hope Tea Estate. The classic Darjeeling tastes of grapes and roses combined nicely with more unique notes of white musk and caramel. The smooth, caramel texture was very pleasant as well. A potent aftertaste leaves a lasting memory of the quality of the FTGFOP1 King Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea. This product is a perfect example of why I am always excited to receive samples from Margaret’s Hope Tea Estate.

Thanks to Ankit Lochan of Surajmukji Tea for providing this sample. Cheers!

Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP 1 HS 2014 First Flush from Lochan Tea Limited

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…

Margaret's Hope FTGFOP 1 HS First Flush 2014 Dry Leaves
Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP 1 HS First Flush 2014 Dry Leaves

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.

Margaret's Hope FTGFOP 1 HS First Flush 2014 Dry Leaves 1st Infusion
Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP 1 HS First Flush 2014 Dry Leaves 1st Infusion

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.

Margaret's Hope FTGFOP 1 HS First Flush 2014 Dry Leaves 2nd Infusion
Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP 1 HS First Flush 2014 Dry Leaves 2nd Infusion

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.

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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.

Margaret's Hope FTGFOP 1 HS First Flush 2014 Dry Leaves Infused Leaves
Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP 1 HS First Flush 2014 Infused Leaves

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!

Margaret’s Hope Golden Delight 2nd Flush 2013 from Lochan Tea Limited

On the morning of October 15th, my journey through the world of tea tasting took me to Margaret’s Hope Tea Estate, located in the Darjeeling area of India. This sample was provided by the Lochan Tea Limited company.

As I learned from the Lochan Tea website, this world famous tea estate was not always known as Margaret’s Hope. The original estate name was Bara Ringtong. The estate kept this name from the year of it’s founding in 1830 until 1927. The owner of the Bara Ringtong Tea Estate in 1927 was Mr. Cruikshank, who’s daughter, Margaret, loved the beautiful landscapes of the Bara Ringtong Tea Estate. After beginning a journey from India to her home in England, Margaret died suddenly, never being able to return to the estate that she adored. In Margaret’s memory, Mr. Cruikshank changed the name of the estate to Margaret’s Hope Tea Estate. Now, this estate is known as one of the premier Darjeeling tea estates.

The sample pack has been opened, and along with the sweet smell I see some larger fully intact leaves, and an abundance of color. Let the journey begin…

Margarets Hope Golden Delight 2nd Flush Dry Leaves
Margarets Hope Golden Delight 2nd Flush Dry Leaves

The dry leaves of this Margaret’s Hope Golden Delight 2nd Flush 2013 have a wide range of color from bright lively green to dark brown, and a generous amount of silver tips. The leaves are gently rolled and curled. There appears to be some fully intact, larger leaves, but the majority are leaf fragments, and some nice buds. A few bare stalks are present. The aroma is fruity and sweet.

The standard preparation method was used for this sample. As directed by Lochan Tea, purified spring water was heated to a boil. Nine grams of dry tea leaves were placed in a 21 ounce (600 ml) cast iron Tetsubin. The tea leaves were infused for 3 minutes.

Margarets Hope Golden Delight 2nd Flush 1st Infusion
Margarets Hope Golden Delight 2nd Flush 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright orange-red color, clear and transparent. The aroma is delicate, yet sweet (honey) and floral. The body is medium-full, with a mouthfilling texture and taste. The taste is floral (jasmine), with an aftertaste that is floral with touches of vegetal notes. I don’t know if I have ever had a tea with such a pure floral taste as this. I am interested to see how this tea can maintain this flavor, or mature into other flavors.

Margarets Hope Golden Delight 2nd Flush 2nd Infusion
Margarets Hope Golden Delight 2nd Flush 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a slightly lighter shade of bright orange-red color. The aroma remains delicately sweet and floral. The taste and body lightened some, but maintains a mouthfilling taste of jasmine flowers with a lightly vegetal finish. I expect the third infusion to be quite light, but still provide an acceptable flavor.

Margarets Hope Golden Delight 2nd Flush 3rd Infusion
Margarets Hope Golden Delight 2nd Flush 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with a lighter shade of orange, much lighter color than the first and second infusions. The aroma is lighter, but still sweet and slightly floral. The body and taste have lightened significantly. The taste is very lightly floral, with a very light vegetal aftertaste. The taste is borderline acceptable, but getting an acceptable taste out of a fourth infusion is doubtful.

Margarets Hope Golden Delight 2nd Flush Infused Leaves
Margarets Hope Golden Delight 2nd Flush Infused Leaves

The infused leaves of this tea are mostly uniform copper-brown, with an occasional green or red leaf mixed in. The majority of the leaves are fragments, with an occasional fully intact leaf and occasional bud being found. The aroma is lightly sweet and lightly floral. The leaves appear nearly exhausted of flavor.

As I mentioned earlier, this tea was very unique in the purity of the floral flavor. Aside from the lightly vegetal finish, all I could taste was a mouthful of delicate jasmine flowers. It is easy to understand why this tea is sought after by tea aficionados the world over. The first infusion was incredible in the aroma and flavor, with both trailing off with additional infusions. This tea would be an excellent choice for those who prefer a tea with more body and a gentle flavor. It has the body of a black tea, with the flavor that only a Darjeeling tea can provide. This tea has been etched in my memory as the tea that tastes like pure natural jasmine. There is no need whatsoever for any blending or additives to make this tea a pleasure to experience.