Tea: Castleton China Black Tea

A Darjeeling Autumnal Flush from Udyan Tea

This tea has been retired/discontinued.

Picture of Castleton China Black Tea
Brand:Udyan Tea
Style:Darjeeling Autumnal Flush
Region:Darjeeling, India
# Ratings:1 View All

Review of Castleton China Black Tea

10 of 105 of 55 of 597 of 100

Wow. Udyan tea recently sent me some samples, and they are of impressive quality. This is the first sample I'm reviewing, and only the second tea I've ever tried from Castleton estate. It got my attention immediately as a top-quality tea.

The dry leaf of this tea is explosively aromatic and the aroma is extraordinarily fresh, strong, and complex. At first it smells like a Darjeeling, with strong fruity and floral qualities, but this quick falls into the background behind a spicy and malty aroma that reminds me a little of some Yunnan teas, or some other Chinese teas. And this is before brewing it!

Upon brewing, produces a very smooth cup with a bold and fresh flavor. Fairly cooling for a black tea. Aroma is very floral and fruity, and has woody notes (like in the description, and a little like an amber oolong). Although the leaf looks darker, typical for a Darjeeling autumn flush, this tastes greener in character, like a first flush tea with a bit of the edge taken off.

The second cup was surprisingly good. Interestingly, the second steep was when this tea really started to shine. It had a strong herbaceous character, a lot like hops, and the aroma was less like a typical Darjeeling, more malty. The net effect was that it reminded me of some craft-brewed beers. Bold flavor, and interesting.

Slightly tricky to brew: easy to oversteep. This tea doesn't become too bitter or astringent, but it is somehow overbearing and unpleasant if brewed too strongly. I initially tried using a teaspoon of leaf and a 3 minute steep, and this came out too strong for my tastes. The aroma was pleasantly complex and the flavor good, but something about the cup was still too potent.

I liked a 3 minute steep using less than a teaspoon, or a 1-2 minute steep using about a teaspoon. Brewing this tea less strongly brings out a honey-like sweetness. I usually liked brewing two cups but no more, the second cup was always outstanding, but the wonderful aromatic notes were mostly gone after that.

The price on this is exceptional. This is a top-notch artisanal tea, and the leaf stretches very far. At under $6 for 100 grams, this is undoubtedly the best Darjeeling I've ever sampled in this price range. Udyan lists this as FTGFOP1, and it among the better examples of teas of this grade that I've tried, and it's also super fresh.

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