Tea Tasting in Kurseong, at Tea Lounge Goodricke Teapot, Margaret’s Deck

My father once told me you can get paid for spitting! Yes, he said me that! I was on the confused threshold of deciding what career to embark on then. Initially I thought he was joking but then he explained how tea tasters taste hundreds of sips of tea in a day. They sip a bit, kind of gargle in mouth and spit it out. Theirs is one of the highly paid jobs in tea industry!

Many decades later, sometime in the middle of second week of February 2017, I witnessed the process of sipping, tasting and spitting. Not only that, I indulged in the whole process, in that same sequence! It did feel great and I wondered why I didn’t think about this job seriously then.

Below is an account of tea tasting in Kurseong at Tea Lounge Margaret’s Deck, Darjleeng district, West Bengal.

Margaret's Deck Kurseong

Goodricke Teapot

Tea Lounge Margaret’s Deck in Kurseong

The Goodricke Teapot, a tea lounge of Goodricke Group Ltd., was inaugurated in Nov 2016. It is nestled over the undulating waves of green tea estate Margaret’s Hope. The lounge is named Margaret’s Deck. Margaret’s Hope Tea Estate is a 150 year old tea estate, fondly remembered as the Bada Rington, which was named Margaret’s Hope in fond memory of the daughter of the then manager of the tea estate in the early 20th century.

I was in Goodricke Teapot Margaret’s Deck with a group of bloggers on an invite to experience ‘THE EXPERIENCE in Margaret’s Deck’ . Visitors at the tea lounge get visual treats of the picturesque Himalayan peaks, gushing streams, swaying orchids while they sip on the choicest selection of teas here. As you enter the hall houses a small reading area with a pleasant display of all information on tea. To the right you will find a counter selling different blends of tea. The deck juts out over the tea gardens. As I walked along the deck I felt I was walking towards the mountains. February winds are pleasantly chill and there at Margaret’s Deck, with a cup of warm tea in hand I felt so content with life!

Margaret's Deck

Imagine yourself standing at edge of that Margaret’s Deck with a cup of tea in hand facing the Himalayas!

The Goodricke Teapot lounge at Margaret’s Deck offers:

Ambiance: Comfortable and Stress Free, enjoy the view of toy trains crossing the steep slopes.
Specialty: Good range of teas hot and iced, pastries, and premium chocolates.
Service: Timely, Polite
Suitable for: Families, child friendly, tourists to Kurseong, Darjleeng, Kalimpong, connoisseurs, blenders and laymen.
Must visit: for those who value quality and experience rich heritage and the culture of tea drinking
Wallet factor: Rs.700 for two.
Location: Margaret’s Deck, Margaret Hope’s Tea Estate, Kurseong, Darjleeng District, West Bengal.

Location Margaret's Deck

Tea Tasting session at Margaret’s Deck, Kurseong

Displayed before us were sets of 5 different kinds of tea. We were not told the names of the 5 varieties kept for tasting. There were the dry tea leaves in first small bowl, the tea itself in a cup and the wet tea leaves with which the tea was made in a small container. Mr. Krishan Katyal, Chairman & Managing Director of J. Thomas & Co. guided us through the session. He first taught us how to take the sip and taste it before we give our verdicts on it.

  1. With a slurrrrp sound you sip the tea (yes, forget all etiquette) till your mouth is semi full with it.
  2. Next let the tea roll inside your mouth. Tongue has taste buds in different parts of it which get different tastes. One must give a little more time to this step so that all tastes can be understood.
  3. Next spit the tea out. Well, you can gulp it… but for a tea taster who has to take 100 such sips will prefer to spit it out rather than fill the belly with tea.

Tea Tasting in Kurseong

Tea Tasting in Kurseong Travel Blogger Manjulika Pramod at tea tasting in Kurseong.

I have always had tea with milk and sugar and that too hot. Now for the first time I was tasting tea in its purest form. One sip in, I let it roll along the sides of tongue, closed my eyes to let my brain concentrate on which taste was dominating. The experience was varied. While one seemed to be fragrant, another had a bitter taste dominating, yet another seemed to me a little burnt unbelievably and one was too astringent.

The names were later told to us. 1 – White Tea, 2- Green Tea, 3 – Second Flush Muscatel Tea, 4 – Assam Orthodox, 5 – Assam CTC (crush, tear, curled)

Goodricke Tea Kurseong

 

Lessons concluded from tea tasting in Kurseong

  • No two teas are same! Each one is essentially different from the other. Different texture, different flavour, different lingering taste… many more.
  • Sense of touch – the taster feels the tea leaves to check it is not spongy; it has not picked up moisture, its dryness.
  • Sense of smell – Once the taster has felt the leaves she/he checks the aroma. Sometimes nose tells much more ahead what palate will reveal later. An experienced taster can get 75% taste right with smell alone.
  • Brewing (not boiling) is done for 5 minutes for tasting tea while for drinking purpose brewing is done for only 3 minutes.
  • For brewing take 2.5g of dry leaf. Boil 150ml of water, as it comes to state of rapid boiling pour it on the leaves (not the other way round). Let it rest for 5 minutes.
  • It takes 5 minutes for every taste of tea to enhance and get a distinct form.

With practice the above steps will make you a qualified efficient tea taster!

And you know where to go for
different kinds of tea tasting experience while in Kurseong?

Head to Tea Lounge Margaret’s Deck!

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3 Responses

  1. Honestly, I had no clue about this profession of tea tasting and the visit to Margaret’s Deck was an absolute learning experience for me.
    There is so much to know about Darjeeling Tea.
    Moreover, the tea gardens and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways makes Kurseong a beautiful place.
    And I loved meeting you and exploring Kurseong with you.

  2. And thank you for putting my picture. That’s me learning to taste and appreciate tea.

  3. Thank you Indrani for the wonderful write up and photos of the tea tasting session at Margaret’s deck, Kurseong.

    It was also great meeting you.

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