2014 Castleton Maharaja First Flush from Darjeeling Tea Lovers


Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Darjeeling Tea Lovers

Tea Description:

Castleton Maharaja is one tea which we are sure you will not want to miss. After recording THE WORLD MOST EXPENSIVE TEA last season, they are back again with a BIG BANG!!!

Everything about this tea is perfect to make it a wonderful First Flush Tea. The dry leaves are well rolled and fine sorted. The initial appearance is very bright. When brewed for 4 minutes, it gives a beautiful bright yellow cup. The aroma will remind you that THIS IS A CASTLETON TEA, a very peach like sweetness with high flowery notes which tempts to have a sip immediately. The flavour is also very smooth, it starts and finishes very well. There is no sign of ‘harshness’ all you feel is a sweet floral flavour which lingers into your mouth for long. The aftertaste is very energetic and a bouquet of floral tone to it.

This tea has raised the standards of our First Flush Catalogue. Without any doubt, this qualifies for becoming the BENCHMARK TEA this season. A must have for every tea connoisseur.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is a really delightful tea!  Then again, I’m not surprised.  I’ve yet to be disappointed by any tea that I’ve tried from Darjeeling Tea Lovers!

To steep this tea, I used my Breville One-Touch tea maker.  I measured 2 bamboo scoops of tea into the basket and then poured 500ml of freshly filtered water into the jug of the tea maker.  I set the timer for 2 1/2 minutes and the temperature for 195°F.  Then I let the tea maker do it’s thing, and when I returned a few minutes later, I had a pot of tea ready to enjoy.

The brewed tea is a light yellowish amber color and has a vibrant scent of peaches and flowers.  It’s a very inviting aroma.

And I’m happy to say that the aroma translates to the brewed tea!  This Castleton Maharaja has an amazing peach flavor that melds beautifully with floral notes.  Sometimes a tea’s floral essence can be a tad bit sharp but that isn’t the case with this tea.  It’s so smooth and sweet.  Not sharp or bitter.  There is very little astringency to this cup.  There is a slight dryness to the aftertaste which follows a really lovely sweetness.  The dryness seems to cleanse the palate a little, readying it for the next sip.  This is a tea that keeps you sipping, and it tastes so good that you don’t want to stop!

The sip begins with a sweet note that evokes a thought of a lightly sugared peach.  The peach flavors develop as the sip progresses and continue into the aftertaste.  As I reach mid-sip, I notice notes of flower and a slight woodsy tone in the distance.  The overall sip is very crisp and light and beautifully sweet.  It has that bubbly light flavor that you expect from a Darjeeling tea, but it’s much smoother than you might expect.

I am loving this Castleton Maharaja from Darjeeling Tea Lovers.  It seems like every time I try one of their teas, I’m bowled over with how good it is.  This company is one you should definitely try, especially if you’re one who is as fond of Darjeeling teas as I am.  You won’t be disappointed by anything in their collection!

Castleton Autumnal Tulip Black Tea (2013 Autumn Flush) from Darjeeling Tea Lovers


Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Darjeeling Tea Lovers

Tea Description:

CASTLETON AUTUMNAL TULIP, as the name suggests is an AUTUMNAL TEA or THIRD FLUSH tea from the estates of CASTLETON TEA ESTATE.

This tea comes with Malty, Muscatel & spicy notes smooth yet complex in flavour. “LIGHT & BRIGHT” is an ideal way to describe this tea. It has a very smooth cup with plenty of sweet muscatel notes. An ideal tea for your breakfast.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The aroma of the dry leaf is sweet with some spice notes and floral tones.  The brewed tea has a fruitier fragrance, smelling a lot more like fruit than flower.  I still pick up on sweet and spice, but mostly, I’m picking up on a delightful grape-y scent!  You know what that means, right?  Muscatel!

Oh yeah!  And this tea has the muscatel that you’re looking for!  It has a very wine-like taste, with bright, fruity notes that taper to a slight dryness at the finish and the aftertaste is sweet and fruity, with notes of grape and black currant.

The sip starts with a sweet yet spicy note.  The malty notes of this tea accentuate the sweetness, although I’m not finding this tea to be overly sweet.  I think that the spice notes add enough contrast to the overall flavor to keep this from tasting like your average Darjeeling.  This is – in my humble opinion – head and shoulders above that average Darjeeling.  I love the muscatel notes here, and I love the crisp, light flavor of the cup.

This is not a heavy tasting black (not surprising, it is a Darjeeling, after all!) and it would make a great tea for mid-morning or early afternoon.  The above description suggests this as a breakfast tea, and I could see that too, there is a certain briskness to this cup that is quite invigorating.  Although, I wouldn’t add milk to this cup – it would overwhelm the fabulous flavors going on.  So, if you’re one who wants milk in your breakfast tea, save this one for the second cup of the day when you are ready for some unfettered tea flavor.

As I continue sipping, I’m picking up on some bright citrus notes that arrive just after mid-sip, and re-emerge in the aftertaste.  I don’t usually associate citrus flavors with Darjeeling, but this tea has some sunny notes of lemon!  Nice!

There is some astringency to this cup, but, it’s a fairly mellow astringency.  It isn’t leaving the insides of my cheeks feeling puckered or dry, although there is a gentle “clean” feeling to my palate.

Another delightful autumnal flush from Darjeeling Tea Lovers!

Castleton Autumnal Wonder (2013) from Darjeeling Tea Lovers


Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Darjeeling Tea Lovers

Tea Description:


Clonal teas from CASTLETON TEA ESTATE have always been special and rare. One of the most difficult tea to source due to its high demand.

This tea comes from pure AV – 2 bushes which have been very finely plucked during the early mornings (before sunrise) when the dew is present on the leaves. The dew adds more prominent floral flavour to this rare tea. A tea full of fruity floral notes, the aroma of brewed leaves is enough to make your mouth water.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I absolutely LOVE the aroma of these dry leaves!  They are sweet and distinctly floral with notes of fruit.  The brewed tea smells a bit less floral and more fruity than the dry leaves.  There is a slight herbaceous note to the aroma as well, reminding me somewhat of basil.

I love the way the fruit and flower flavors meld.  The floral tones are softer in taste than the fruit notes, the fruit notes are profound!  There is a muscatel note (grape!) and hints of crisp apple and every once in a while, I swear I could also taste a whisper of apricot in there too.  The grape-y notes give this an almost wine-ish taste, complete with a slightly dry finish.  The dryness is not abrupt, it’s a smooth finish.

The floral notes are much more subtle, but they offer a nice sweetness to this as well.  The aforementioned herbaceous notes translate only slightly to the taste, and I notice these more in the aftertaste than in the actual sip.  I draw in a breath across the palate, and I experience a cooling sensation, as if I had one of those tiny mints.  (You know which ones I’m talking about, right?)  The palate feels clean after a sip.

If you’re a fan of Darjeeling teas, you really need to try some teas from Darjeeling Tea Lovers!  Their Darjeeling selections are top-notch, I’m always impressed with the teas that I try from them.

Castleton Estate First Flush Darjeeling 2014 from Steepster

casteltonTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Steepster Select

Tea Description:

A new first flush black tea from one of the most respected gardens in Darjeeling.  Grown from the China varietal of Camellia Sinensis, the flavors are bright and tangy with a notable balance.  Castleton teas are revered for their low astringency.

Taster’s Review:

One of the things that I love about the arrival of spring is that all the first flush teas are arriving too!  I’ve often mentioned my preference for a second flush Darjeeling over a first flush, but, this Castleton Estate First Flush Darjeeling 2014 from Steepster might just change my mind!  This is LOVELY!

First of all … very low astringency.  If you’re someone who tends to shy away from Darjeeling because they tend to be on the astringent side, this Castleton single estate might win you over.  There is some dry astringency toward the tail, but, it is very mild.  It’s like a subtle dry wine astringency.

The flavor is delightfully fruity.  Notes of apricot and peach.  Sweet notes of muscat grape … yes!  Muscatel in a first flush.  Not all first flush Darjeeling teas have a strong muscatel note but this one is prominent.  And what I like is that even though this has a grape-y taste, as I mentioned in the previous paragraph, the astringency is low … this is like a wine without the astringent quality of a wine.  Bonus points for that.

Usually with a Darjeeling, I taste a woodsy or earthy type of flavor, but I’m not getting a lot of that with this Darjeeling.  There are hints here and there of earthy and woody notes, but mostly, this is sweet and fruity.

A really, really good first flush Darjeeling.  This one gets two enthusiastic thumbs up!

Castleton Muscatel (2nd Flush) from Darjeeling Tea Lovers

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black (Darjeeling)

Where to Buy:  Darjeeling Tea Lovers

Tea Description:

CASTLETON MUSCATEL is one of the finest muscatel teas that we have come across this season. This tea has been made from selective leaves that come from PURE CHINA BUSHES at an altitude of 6200 ft above sea level which is ideal for the MUSCAT FLAVOUR.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Every time I go to open a new pouch of tea from Darjeeling Tea Lovers, I am so excited for what awaits me.  The teas I’ve tried from them so far have been absolutely incredible, and this one is also amazing.

This has such a crisp flavor … there are actually faint notes of mint in the background!  The muscatel is a very forward flavor.  Sweet and fruity with a fair amount of astringency.  The cleansing astringency is somewhat dry and plays to the muscatel notes quite nicely, giving it an almost wine-like finish.  In the aftertaste I notice a far off in the distance hint of mint, but otherwise the aftertaste is very clean.

I find this to be a very enjoyable cup of tea – usually with Darjeeling teas, I find that they make a really nice afternoon cup because they aren’t overly energizing; they tend to be more of a calming, relaxing cup of tea.  But I find this particular Darjeeling to be more invigorating … I could easily start the day with this!  The flavor is very vibrant!

If you are a fan of Darjeeling Teas, you really MUST try the teas from Darjeeling Tea Lovers.  Every single tea that I’ve tried from them has been a superb example of what Darjeeling tea should be – and while that definition seems to get broader and broader for me the more I drink Darjeeling, it is one I don’t mind redefining, because I keep finding more to love about Darjeeling – thanks to this company!