Margaret's Hope Darjeeling (Estate Black Tea)
Cup Characteristics: A 2nd flush tea with light body and a round cup. Delightful fresh character with a delicious muscatel finish. Darjeeling's most famous tea estate.
Ingredients: Luxury black tea.
In the first half of the last century the garden was owned by Mr. Bagdon who lived in London but visited the tea garden regularly. He had two daughters. During the 1930's the youngest daughter named Margaret accompanied him on a trip to the estate. When she saw the tea garden, she fell in love with it, hoping one day she would have an opportunity to return. Sadly she fell ill on board ship during the return trip to England and died soon after. In her memory, her distraught father changed the garden name to Margaret's Hope. It is believed that she visits the estate bungalow from the western side, coming through the main guestroom and leaving from the study through the verandah to the tennis courts. Those that have spent the night in her room sense her presence on these ghostly forays.
The bushes at Margaret's Hope are almost entirely the Chinese Jat (genus) accounting for the green leafed tippy appearance of the manufactured leaf and the superb fragrance. Because the tea is grown at such high altitudes and in relatively cool weather the bushes do not grow quickly, and as such the production is limited. The best time of the year for quality is during 'second-flush' (end May to end June). During this time Darjeelings are incomparable to any other tea in the world. The fragrance and taste is a complex bouquet that reaches right out of the cup. Some would describe the taste as nutty; others find it reminds them of black currants, but most often it is described as similar to the taste and fragrance of muscat grapes.
The are 3 main times of year for producing good quality Darjeelings:
1st flush – springtime harvested teas from late Feb. to mid April. The young leaves yield a light tea with generally intense muscatel with 'point'. A gentle afternoon tea.
2nd flush - Harvested in June, these teas are more fully developed. The liquor is bright and the taste full and round excellent muscatel. A superb afternoon tea that is especially good with scones and raspberry conserve.
Autumnal - Not always available depending upon the weather, they are typified by a round taste and coppery liquor. Excellent as a breakfast tea.
To make the perfect cup of Fairmont Tea: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Use 1 teaspoon of Margaret's Hope luxury loose tea or 1 tea bag of Margaret's Hope luxury tea for each 10 ounce/300 ml serving required. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the flavor). Pour into your cup. Margaret's Hope is best enjoyed 'straight-up' but if you wish, add milk and sugar to taste.
To make the perfect cup of Fairmont Iced Tea: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 teaspoons of Margaret's Hope luxury loose tea or 6-8 tea bags of Margaret's Hope luxury tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher.. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of the hot brew since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water].