Probably the most memorable name of the tea gardens in the Darjeeling area is Margaret’s Hope. This garden is also the source of some very fine teas. Time for this little teapot to do some trekking. Come along, humans! TOOOT!
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.
Click on each photo for more details:
A Tip for Pairing with Foods
Cooler temps call for pancakes with butter and maple syrup and a side of crispy bacon or sausage links. Some of those nice fluffy flaky biscuits with a nice milk gravy are another option. Add in some hash brown potatoes, warm fruit compote with cinnamon and brown sugar, and we’re talking a major meal event. Pair with a pot of Margaret’s Hope Autumn Flush black tea for the perfect cool weather meal.
About the Margaret’s Hope Tea Estate
|Founded||1864 (one of the earliest)|
|Local name||Bara Rington|
|District (Valley)||Kurseong (North)|
|Owner||Goodricke Group Limited (Amgoorie India Ltd.)|
|Annual Production||617,000 lbs (280,000 kgs)
(585 hectares planted out of 778 hectares, low yield due to complying with organic farming standards)
|Factory||built in the year 1930 after dismantling the old factory by Mr. John Taylor with the help of a Chinese businessman, Mr. Longsin|
|Tea plants||China variety, producing teas with that muscatel characteristic so identified with Darjeelings of high quality.|
|Assistant Managers||Arun Gurung (Maharani)
Anup Khondo (Margaret’s Hope)
Ram Kumar Rai (Dilaram)
Margaret’s Hope Tea Estate is one of the better known estate teas from Darjeeling and one of the first tea estates (founded around 1864) in that region of India. Occasional views of the awesome Himalayan peaks, the abundance of erns and trees, the wild flowers and gushing streams, the velvety moss, lichens and orchids are part of the appeal. Owing to its high altitude and the resulting cool temperature, it takes a longer time for tea production in this estate compared to other tea estates located in Darjeeling. Many claim that Margaret’s Hope is listed among the very top of Darjeeling estates and boasts of a very loyal clientele. However, we have found a lot of variation and disappointment, depending on the vendor supplying the tea.
Where They Are
This estate is located in the northern valley of Kurseong which is more popularly known as the Land of White Orchid. Two pretty rivers flow through the estate. The teas grow at elevations of 915-1830 meters. It takes about one and a half hours from the main Darjeeling town to reach the garden. The nearest airport at Bagdogra and railway station at NJP is roughly one and a half hours away.
These maps are composed from still captures from the full map here: Darjeeling Garden Map on Camellia-sinensis.com Blog. Check it out sometime. Very nice and informative.
The Haunting Story of Margaret
This garden is one of 87 or 88 gardens that qualify as official Darjeeling tea gardens. It is considered one of the best of them. The garden was first planted by Mr. Cruikshank (or Mr. Bagdon, depending on the site you read). He lived in London with his family but visited the tea garden regularly. On one trip, he brought his wife and both of his daughters with him. Margaret, the youngest, fell in love instantly with the beauty of this garden. In fact, in 1927 when the duration of her visit was over and it was time to return to England, she became very sad. On the four-month voyage back home, she told her father how much she hoped to visit the garden again, but she fell ill with a lethal tropical disease and died. So her hope was in vain. He was grief stricken and later when back in India sought some peace of mind by walking in the garden. One day, he thought he saw a vision of Margaret walking among the tea plants. To him, it was a sign, and he changed the garden’s name from Bara Ringtong to “Margaret’s Hope.” That name kept her always with him in spirit as well as paying her homage.
The samples above came from these vendors (click on each logo to see details):
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Hi, humans, this site is under my editorial excellence. I, your lovable and sassy Little Yellow Teapot, authors articles on tea, etc., and edit the occasional guest article. All in the interest of helping you humans have a better tea experience. TOOOT!