Review: Canton Tea Co. Castleton Moonlight First Flush Darjeeling

Black Tea, Canton Tea Co., Darjeeling Tea, Orange Pekoe Tea, Single Estate Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The first flush definitely had some of the same traits as its later kin, but it's overall character was more quintessentially Darjeeling."
Geoff’s Teaview: 9.7/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 8.6/10, Dan gave it 7.8/10
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This afforded an interesting opportunity - to compare a first flush Darjeeling with a second flush of the same name/estate. Some months back, I received a sample from Thunderbolt Tea of a 2011 second flush from the Castleton estate. It was simply dubbed "Moonlight", and it had one of the most unusual flavor profiles of any Darjeeling I'd come across. I extolled upon its virtues HERE. Part of that unique character stemmed from the fact that - according to Castleton's manager - Moonlight wasn't a typical orange pekoe; it was an oolong. That would explain why it was - to me - reminiscent of a Taiwanese Bai Hao. But now I wondered if the first flush was any different.

The menagerie in the bag was most welcoming. Greens, browns, and beiges dotted the canvas like a microcosmic forest. The aroma was sweet, lightly spicy, and all-around wildernessy. It had a lot in common with the second flush, but a little younger-seeming and untamed. It also didn't have the downy fur presence like the second flush did.

Brewing instructions on the Canton site called for "2 tsp per cup (200ml); water temperature 90°C (194°F). Infuse 2-3 mins and reinfuse the same leaves 2-3 times." I did a tablespoon in 12oz. of 200F water for two minutes. I guess I could've done it gongfu - like I did with the second flush - but I was at work and didn't have that kind of time.

The liquor brewed up a dainty bronze. If...bronze can be considered dainty. It had a very young appearance to it on palette. The aroma was also equally as fresh and "green" (but not in the literal sense). Sweetness crept up to the nostril like some kind of welcomed feather - a very oolong trait. The initial sip yielded a spicy grape front, typical of most first flush Darjeelings. However, something different appeared in the middle. Hard to say what, but it was a different form of fruity profile - vaguely citrus with a honey texture. Again, very oolong-y - Bai Hao-ish also. The finish simply trailed off pleasantly with a floral farewell.

The first flush definitely had some of the same traits as its later kin, but it's overall character was more quintessentially Darjeeling. While the second flush simply WAS an oolong through-and-through, a case could be made for the first being a regular OP. What makes the issue dicey, however, is the same fruit-sweet/honey trail of both. No normal Darj possesses that. All said, I enjoyed this very much. Not quite as perfect as the second flush, but still worth your valuable sip.

— To purchase Canton Tea Co. Castleton Moonlight First Flush Darjeeling, 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.

Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff
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One Response to “Review: Canton Tea Co. Castleton Moonlight First Flush Darjeeling”

  1. Matt Says:

    Interesting description…I’d like to give this one a try and see what I can make out of the citrus/honey profile you detected in the middle of your sip.

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