Home > FAM (Familiarization) Tour, FAM Trip, Food, General, Hill Stations, Margaret's Deck FAM, Travelogue > Tea Tasting at Margaret’s Deck, Kurseong

Tea Tasting at Margaret’s Deck, Kurseong

Tea Tasting at Margaret’s Deck

Goodricke’s Margaret Hope Tea Estate, Kurseong

See also: Maragaret’s Deck FAM

If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you; if you are exxcited, it will calm you.

William Gladstone, former Prime Minister of United Kingdom

My first stint with Tea Tasting happened at the Goodricke office in Kolkata. I remember tasting several version and trying to distinguish between the different tastes and flavoures.

 Margaret's Deck, Goodricke Tea Pot, Kurseong

Margaret’s Deck, Goodricke Tea Pot, Kurseong

But I always wanted to have a tea tasting experience at the heart of chai country. The opportunity again came from Goodricke, with MSL Group as the public relation partner.

Margaret's Deck, glow sign

Margaret’s Deck, glow sign

I was invited, along with a host of other bloggers, for a food and tea tasting session at the Margaret’s Deck, an initiative of Goodricke Tea Pot at the Margaret Hope tea garden in Kurseong.

Located just a few hundred yards north of the Tung Station on the famous Darjeeling Himalayan railway (DHR) (Also read: Chasing the DHR) the Mragaret’s Deck is shaped like a ship deck, which offers a 270 degree view of the rolling hills of the Margaret Hope tea garden.

The plantation of the Margaaret Hope tea garden dates back to 1862 when it was known as Chota Ringtong (some say Bada Ringtong). It was managed by Mr. Cruickshank, her youg daughter fell in love with the lush green hills and meandering avenues of the tea estate.

Sadly Margaret’s love affair with the hill was short lived, as she had to make a journey back home to England. She promised to return soon, but her promise was never kept as a sudden illness grasped her on her voyage home and she passed away never to return again.

Preparation for Tea Tasting, Margaret's Deck, Kurseong

Preparation for Tea Tasting, Margaret’s Deck, Kurseong

Her father christened the garden Margaret Hope and today the Margaret’s Deck stand as a mute witness to Margaret’s eternal love for the amazing tea estate.

The Margaret’s Deck consists of two parts, the lobby and the restaurant area with an open kitchen.

The lobby also houses a small tea outlet along with posters depicting the history of tea.

Before the hands on experience of tea tasting we were introduced to the world of tea.

Tea is generally processed in two method:

  1. CTC (crush, tear and curl): The CTC process is normally used for Assam Tea, known for its distinctive liqueur and is served with milk.
  2. Orthodox: Orthodox tea is from the Darjeeling area. It is leafy in texture and is served with out milk.
The Tea Tasting platter, Margaret's Deck, Goodricke Teapot, Kurseong

The Tea Tasting platter, Margaret’s Deck, Goodricke Teapot, Kurseong

Colours of Orthodox Tea: The colours of the leafy orthodox tea depends on the oxidation process

  1. White: The leaves and buds are withered and dried, often naturally in the sun
  2. Green: The leaves are kept in a steam bath to cease the oxidation process. Then the leaves are withered, hand rolled and dried
  3. Olong: Partially oxidised teaa. The leaves are kept in a room with high temperature and controlled humidity level, to initiate gentle oxidation
  4. Black: Highly oxidised tea. The enzymatic oxidationgives the black colour and strong flavour
Tea Infusions, Margaret's Deck

Tea Infusions, Margaret’s Deck

Flushes of Tea: In the Darjeeling area tea leaves are plucked from march till October. This period is broken down into four flushes.

  1. First Flush: (early March – mid April) Also called the spring flush, it produces a very light colour tea.
  2. Second Flush: (mid May – end June) Also called the Summer Flush. The famous Muscatel tea is produced in this flush
  3. Monsoon Flush: (September) Matured leaves are pickedd aand low quality tea is produced
  4. Autumn Flush: (mid October – end November) this is the final harvest of the season, producing low quality tea.

The tea made these flushes differ considerably in colour, taste and flavour. Moreover tea from the same flush differ from one garden to another and even within the garden. This is not easy to find the difference and only an experienced tea taster can do it, no wonder they receive  fat salary.

By the time the introduction was complete, the tea tasting platter was laid for us. We were divided into groups of tea and each had a sample of five teas. The sample consists of tea leaves, liqueur and infusions.

A FAM participant tries her hand on tea tasting, Margaret's Deck, Goodricke Teapot, Kurseong

A FAM participant tries her hand on tea tasting, Margaret’s Deck, Goodricke Teapot, Kurseong

We were told the process of tea tasting starts with 2.5 gms of tea over which 160 ml of boiling water is poured it is brewed for 5 minutes (3 minutes for drinking tea) and the tea is filtered and poured in a cup.

A world map at Margaret's deck, narrating tea stories from round the world

A world map at Margaret’s deck, narrating tea stories from round the world

The liquids in the cup look distinctively different, starting from pale almost colourless yellow to dark brown.

We were told to slurp the tea, not sip it. We made the most reared sound while slurping the tea.

After each sample we were told to express the taste, something very difficult to describe and all of us came out with the most constructing opinions.

But for all of us the tea just not looked different they tasted different too. Finally the master tea taster disclosed the names of the teas in the five sample. Sample 1: White Tea, Sample 2: Green Tea, Sample 3: Second Flush Muscatel, Sample 4: Assam Orthodox and Sample 5: Assam CTC.

Note: This article is part of a FAM Trip organised by Goodricke with MSL Group as the PR agency.

Special Thanks:

  • To the entire Goodricke team at Margaret’s Hope, Goodricke Teapot, Kurseong for the endless cups of teas, the wwouth watering food and the warm hospitality
  • To Anushka of MSL Group for all the coordination
  • To all my fellow bloggers Poorna, Dolon, Indrani, Manjulika abd Aditi

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  1. February 17, 2017 at 5:54 PM

    First, it was lovely meeting you at Kurseong.
    Second, it was a beautiful and a unique trip because it helped us to learn so much about Tea.
    Third, you have helped me recall the super interesting tea-tasting session.
    We must all know, learn and identify tea and its taste.

    • February 17, 2017 at 8:51 PM

      Thank you Manjulika for your post. Looking forward for your post on the amazing tea experience and finally looking forward for another FAM trip with you.

  2. 2travellingsisters
    February 17, 2017 at 10:15 PM

    Tea tasting in the paradise of tea is one of a kind experience! 🙂

    • February 17, 2017 at 10:37 PM

      Yes it is an out of the world experience

  3. February 18, 2017 at 12:29 PM

    This is such a rich write up, and it transported me back to the deck with the tea aromas wafting around us. This truly was a unique experience and adding to the effect and making it even better was meeting you and other bloggers/writers who I can now call friends. Thank you for sharing your experience in such wonderful words. 🙂
    Looking forward to more such trips!

    • February 19, 2017 at 9:22 PM

      Thanks Aditi it was definitely great meeting you and the memories of Kurseong will be long cherished, Looking forward for your blog posts.

  4. February 20, 2017 at 2:11 PM

    reall nice all snap are awesome

  5. February 21, 2017 at 11:16 PM

    Very interesting read. My father was a tea connoisseur, and procured tea leaves from Darjeeling. Every morning and evening we had an elaborate tea drinking session. Preparing a nice cuppa is also an art. That is the reason tea holds very important place in my life.
    Your post transported me to my good old days.

    • February 24, 2017 at 9:27 AM

      Thanks Vanduna, tea is truly a royal drink or may be the drink of the royals!!!

  6. February 24, 2017 at 11:47 AM

    This was my first experience of tea tasting and it surely is memorable. Cleared all my doubts about getting paid for spitting 😀 😀 Your post transported me right there among all our blogging friends. 🙂

    • February 24, 2017 at 2:14 PM

      Thanks Indrani, I enjoyed reading your post also

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