For those dreaming of travelling through beautiful scenery, the month of October fulfils that promise in the regions south of the Himalayas, like here in Darjeeling. After several months of intense heat, storms and torrential rain, a clear sky reveals the highest peaks.
The Margaret’s Hope garden is one of the best known in Darjeeling. Its reputation is justified by the quality of its teas and also because, from time to time, this plantation products batches of a truly remarkable quality. Of course, you have to taste many samples before finding a rare gem, but that is exactly what my work entails: drinking large quantities of different teas every day.
Last spring I bought a batch from Margaret’s Hope that I am sure you remember if you were lucky enough to taste it. The planter called it White Delight. And I have just chosen a Margaret’s Hope DJ512 which has such an incredible floral bouquet it is worth the detour too. For connoisseurs, it comes from the varieties P312 and AV2.
The optimal storage period can vary a great deal from one tea to another. Green teas from Japan and China do not last long, and just a few months after harvest the difference in flavour is noticeable. The same goes for first flush Darjeelings. On the other hand, what are known as dark teas, the famous Pu Ers, get better with age. Lastly, many black teas as well as the most oxidised of the Wulongs often retain their qualities for years. Like this Nepalese plucker whose smile, charm and generosity are impervious to the passing of time.