This 2019 Hillton Tea Estate 1st Flush Darjeeling tea was plucked right at the classic time for this garden this year: late-March into early April. So this year it is chronologically a perfect example of this genre of specialty spring-plucked black tea. Due to its limited production, the leaf is plucked by the ‘first string’ of tea workers, who have been busy this year carefully harvesting the premium crop of leaf that will be the basis of the season’s (therefore the year’s) economy for the estate.
We are happy to report that we are able to offer a very good price on our Hillton Tea Estate 2019 1st Flush Darjeeling tea this year… This is very exciting!
The aroma is slightly dry, and mostly brisk, with hints of fresh hay and the lighter culinary herbs. Its flavor is straightforward and refreshing, but subtle on the palate, and not astringent. It is in many ways a quintessential 1st Flush Darjeeling: flavorful and deeply full-bodied, with the penetrating flavor for which 1st Flush Darjeelings are famous. There are influences of nut flavors, especially filberts and brazil nut, stalk celery, roasted root vegetables, and it has a creamy body. There is a smoothness and rich character to the steeped tea that not all 1st Flush teas show. It is a truly delicious addition to our selection of teas this year!
Our 2019 Hillton Tea Estate 1st Flush Darjeeling selection is from a section of the tea garden that still maintains a small proportion of old China tea bush varietal plants. The yield from this section is low but the tea has excellent flavor. The season’s weather conditions bring out the best flavor from these tea bushes in the spring. These bushes contribute remarkable depth of flavor to the overall style of the Hillton 1st Flush tea’s preparation.
Hillton Tea Estate, formerly known as Ambiok Tea Estate, is quite small – especially for a Darjeeling tea estate – but is very highly regarded for its premium leaf.
The estate produces primarily black tea in the traditional style of Darjeeling.
Forest reserves, rivers and cool Himalaya air contribute to the unique taste of Darjeeling teas that originate in the Teesta Valley, the most northeasterly tea-growing valley of the officially-designated region of Darjeeling. The general altitude in this area is around 3000 feet. This region sits northeast of the majority of the other gardens of the ‘official’ Darjeeling region and just south of Sikkim. We are always amazed that this area is so far west of Lhasa. When we were in Xigaze years ago we could have traveled due south and been in Darjeeling quite directly, by following the western frontier of Bhutan.
Some of the other gardens in this sub-region, from which we have had delicious tea, are Glenburn, Namring, Snowview, Runglee Rungliot, and Selimbong. We tasted several teas from this valley in Darjeeling East this year, and they were all quite good. It seems that the lack of harvesting in 2017 served this area well, while it was not a good influence in most of the other sub-regions of Darjeeling.