The teas from an exceptional tea estate called Castleton have been some of the more enjoyable ones tried here. Pretty astounding for a garden that almost went out of existence! After some decline, the garden has been revived, and their teas will revive you, too.
About Ratings & Flushes
The ratings shown for these teas are part of the Orange Pekoe rating system used for Darjeeling and other teas in some countries.
- “FTGFOP” = “Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe”
- “SFTGFOP” = “Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe”
- “1” = a step up in quality
- “CL” = a clonal tea, that is, a “vintage” tea plant was cloned
Flushes are periods of growth and then harvest (exact dates vary by garden location and the weather). Abbreviations used in the photo descriptions:
- 1F = First Flush (roughly early March thru late April)
- 2F = Second Flush (roughly late May thru June)
- AF = Autumn Flush (roughly early September thru October)
We have been privileged to try the teas shown here. Please click on each photo to see details.
About the Castleton Tea Estate
Castleton Tea Estate is owned by Goodricke Group Limited (Amgoorie India Ltd.).
One of the most renowned of all Darjeeling estates, Castleton was planted with predominantly China bushes in 1885 by Dr. Charles Graham. The name comes from a building in the area that looks like a castle. And the garden location in the Kurseong South Valley is full of regal natural beauty.
As with other Darjeeling gardens, Castleton was facing closure as quality declined, but it was revived by the dedication and hard work of people dedicated to this tea and this garden. Today the garden is a key producer, all orthodox style teas and considered by many to be among the finest.
In 1999, the new manager of the Castleton Tea Garden was seeing critically low yields from the tea fields, but didn’t want to get rid of the valuable China Jat bushes, some 100 years old, growing there that were responsible for the wonderful Muscatel character of their teas. They had done some uprooting and replacing with clonal plants but knew that the flavor would not be the same. The older bushes, though, were damaged by moss stem borers and had been poorly pruned over the years. What to do?
A little digging into the root of the problem (literally) yielded an important discovery and one that could save the bushes: the original roots of these bushes were quite alive but hampered by tumors on the trunk below the soil level. By pulling back the soil and cutting away affected parts, they allowed the roots to begin anew with fresh shoots that still had that muscatel character in the leaves. This method had the further benefit of being far less expensive to do. This solution serves as a shining example to other Darjeeling tea gardens faced with the same dilemma.
Tea Master Mr. DB Gurung is responsible for most of Castleton Tea Garden’s fine tea creations such as Castleton Moonlight and Muscatel.
Castleton Tea Estate (DarjeelingTourismPackages.com)
Tea tourism is becoming popular, and this tea garden is listed as one of the must sees, with gorgeous scenery and their own spotlessly clean factory with gleaming white tea tables for spreading out the leaves to wither.
The samples above came from these vendors (click on each logo to see details):
© 2016-2020 World Is a Tea Party photos and text
YOUR SPONSORED AD COULD BE HERE OR YOUR SPONSORED LINKS COULD BE APPEARING IN THIS ARTICLE. See here for more info.