Review: Canton Tea Co. Margaret’s Hope Silver Moon

Black Tea, Canton Tea Co., Darjeeling Tea, Single Estate Tea Add comments
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This complex brew is quite different from the usual full-bodied, muscatel-infused second flushes. Instead, toasted bread and lemon notes dominate."
Sophie’s Teaview: 7.8/10
Other Teaviews: Geoff gave it 8.9/10, Vanessa gave it 8/10, Raven gave it 8.7/10, Katie gave it 7.9/10
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This premium, high altitude, second flush Darjeeling was harvested in the Spring of 2010. The leaves are fluffy and twisted. Their colour palette is quite impressive, ranging from pearl grey to espresso brown. Canton Tea's website emphasizes the abundance of buds present in the mix. The sweetly pastoral aroma combines musty muscatel, warm hay, caramel and berry notes.

I steeped a generous teaspoon of leaves in water heated to 95 degrees Celsius for 3 minutes, based on the website's brewing instructions. This produces a lovely toffee-coloured cup. The aroma is faint but alluring: ripe fruit, malt and toasted bread notes all compete for my attention. This tea's profile changes dramatically as it cools. Initially I was very disappointed: when very hot, it tastes like boiled soapy water. Fortunately it's well worth it to be patient. Given a couple of minutes or so, a bright citrus flavour develops. The foreground becomes sweeter and sweeter, not unlike raisin bread that has been sprinkled with macadamia nuts. Black currents also make an elusive appearance here. Eventually a spicy yet mineral dimension emerges as well. The aftertaste displays a floral bouquet that lingers on and on. This tea is smooth and calming through and through.

I wasn't sure how this mild-mannered tea would react to a second, 4 minute steep. Happily, this cup is more immediately gratifying, having more presence and depth. The prominent malt/caramel/lemon combination of the flavour profile is satisfying and well-rounded. There is a bit of astringency but it's more refreshing than anything. Overall I find this infusion much more generous and engaging than the first.

Surprisingly, despite the leaves' slow start, a third, 5 minute infusion is quite satisfying. Peach notes are nestled amongst toasted bread and malt. The citrus finish is somewhat brash and drying. Rather than the sedate profile of the first brew, this cup is enlivening and invigorating. It's definitely not as dainty or subtle mind you, but it has its own kind of charm.

This complex brew is quite different from the usual full-bodied, muscatel-infused second flushes. Instead, toasted bread and lemon notes dominate. Personally I would have enjoyed a bit more heft to the first infusion but I can appreciate that this is an exceptional Darjeeling, displaying a very wide range of flavours. I would recommend experimenting with longer brewing times or using more leaf than the usual teaspoonful to get a more potent first cup. If this tickles your fancy, make sure to place an order soon: once Canton's stock runs out, no more will be available anywhere!

— To purchase Canton Tea Co. Margaret’s Hope Silver Moon, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

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