Thunderbolt Tea Sources the Best: Castleton Moonlight First Flush 2015

by Little Yellow Teapot (a tea steeping marvel and occasional contributing author)

A guy on a motorcycle. He knows and loves tea. He’s a father and husband. He’s a native of the hills where Darjeeling tea comes from. His name: Benoy Thapa. His game: sourcing the best teas from the best gardens for his online store Thunderbolt Teas. And this tea is a prime example.

All steeped up (190°F for 3 minutes):


The dry leaves had a nutty, vegetal aroma. The pale yellow liquid had a smooth mouthfeel and a fruity, nutty flavor. Gets top marks from my humans. Sadly, this garden is getting it’s prices up so high that many lovers of Darjeeling tea, us included, can no longer afford them. This tea is listed on one vendor’s site at $148 per 100g (about a quarter pound). We have heard that they sell quickly to the more affluent humans among you. Personally, this little teapot does not think any tea is worth such prices, but that choice is up to you.

What Is a First Flush Darjeeling

In most tea growing areas, the tea plants go dormant in Winter. As Spring approaches, they resume their growth (flush) and continue from about late February to mid April. The fresh, young leaves are harvested and processed into First Flush Teas. This tea has tender shoots, typically of the highest grades.

Castleton Tea Estate Info

Castleton Research Center
Castleton Research Center

One of the “must see” gardens if you want to take a tour. The garden manager went through some strenuous efforts about 15 years ago to keep the garden productive and the tea from true to the Darjeeling heritage and reputation.



About the Name: “Castleton” is due to a building that looks like a castle (it still exists in Kurseong). This Castle (“Bank Ghar”) belonged to a money lender who made the grandiose fort. The original name of this garden was Kumseri.
Location: Kurseong South Valley of Darjeeling
spans Kurseong, Pankhabari and the Hill Card Roads
Founded: Originally planted in 1885 by Dr. Charles Graham
Tea Master: Mr. DB Gurung
Owned by: Goodricke Group Ltd.
Elevation: 980-2300 meters
Factory: Spotlessly clean with gleaming white tea tables for spreading out the leaves to wither
Tea plants: China bushes
Processing Style: All orthodox style teas and considered by many to be among the finest.
Garden sections: The various sections of this gardens have been given names such as Bhalu Khop (bear cave), Jim Basha (the erstwhile manager’s domain), Dhobitar (washerman’s clothes line), Baseri (resting place).

See more info on our blog here.

Castleton has a reputation for extreme cleanliness.
Castleton has a reputation for extreme cleanliness.


Tea Master Mr. DB Gurung creates a wonderful flavor profile in these delightful teas.
Tea Master Mr. DB Gurung creates a wonderful flavor profile in these delightful teas.


Castleton map shown here is a still capture from the full map here: Darjeeling Garden Map on Blog.

Disclaimer: all items were furnished by the vendor but all opinions expressed here are totally unbiased.

© 2015 A.C. Cargill photos and text


2 thoughts on “Thunderbolt Tea Sources the Best: Castleton Moonlight First Flush 2015”

We love hearing from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.