Margaret's Hope 2nd Flush Darjeeling
Due to their unique characteristics and delicate aroma, Darjeeling teas, from the mountainous Darjeeling region of India, are often called the “champagne of tea.” Unlike teas grown in lower altitudes, they have only four harvest periods each year: first flush (spring); “in between” (late spring); second flush (summer); and autumnal. Each crop produces a different tasting tea, with the earlier crops tending light and flowery and later crops becoming progressively fuller bodied and fruity. Be careful not to over-steep Darjeelings as they are quite sensitive!
During the 1930s, the garden where this tea is grown was owned by a man who lived in London, but visited the tea garden regularly. He had two daughters; when the younger daughter, Margaret, saw the tea garden she fell in love with it, hoping one day to have an opportunity to return. However, she sadly fell ill onboard ship during her return trip to England and died soon after. In her memory, her father changed the garden’s name to Margaret’s Hope.
The bushes at Margaret’s Hope are almost entirely the Chinese Jat genus of the tea plant, which accounts for the green-leafed tippy appearance of the manufactured leaf and the superb fragrance. Because the tea is grown as such high altitudes and in relatively cool weather, the bushes do not grow quickly, and as such the production is limited. The best time of year for quality is during “second flush” (end of May to end of June). During this time, the tea produced has a fragrance and taste of a complex bouquet that reaches right out of the cup. Some would describe the taste as nutty; others would find it reminds them of black currants, but most often it is described as similar to the taste and aroma of muscat grapes. This particular selection is a very likeable medium-bodied Darjeeling with a fruity and slightly nutty flavor. Quite smooth and pleasant. A great afternoon tea at a good value. Good hot or as an iced tea. (See our “How to Make Iced Tea” section.) Use one teaspoon per cup and steep 2-3 minutes in freshly boiled water.