Strolling around the tea gardens of Darjeeling with a factory owner I came to know that there are many things related with Darjeeling blends. We common people are really ignorant about these facts. There are not only different kinds of Darjeeling teas, they also have diverse flavors and grades and all these are dependent on certain factors. Darjeeling Tea and Its Different Factors
  • Darjeeling tea is of varied types – black, green, white and oolong blends. Now, the quality of each variety depends on the way of harvesting, quality of soil, climatic condition and workforce.
  • Similarly, flavors of this beverage are determined by the season of its harvest.
  • Again, within every flavor and type of this tea, there are grades which depend on leaf size.
  • There is another factor that is also significant in the production of Darjeeling tea. It is the elevation or the altitude of the land it is cultivated in.
It is known to all that concentration and composition of aromatic compounds is very essential in determining the quality and, in turn, value of Darjeeling teas. The typical enticing flavor of Darjeeling blends fetches high prices to the estate owners. It is this exquisite favor that has made Darjeeling tea industry experience sustained growth. Studies have proved that with increase in altitude growth rate of the blends decreases. As a result, there are lower yields in high elevations, provided there is constant supply of other factors like soil and planting materials. However, slower growth at high altitude enables the beverage to develop a more complex flavor. Tea gets its flavor from Volatile Flavor Compounds or popularly called VFC, a component present in it. Darjeeling blends have a rosy flavor due to the presence of compounds like Linalol Oxide (VFC II) and Geraniol. Darjeeling teas produced at high elevations contain more of VFC II thereby making its flavor more intensive than the plantations of the plains. Besides altitude, there are other factors influencing VFC and quality of Darjeeling tea. High altitude together with right climatic condition substantially contributes to the rich flavor of Darjeeling blends. Do you know that flavor of tea leaves also depends on the panting materials. For instance, small tea leaves have stronger flavor than the large leaves. Increase of flavors and taste of tea leaves with altitude are not consistent within the same planting materials. In some the richness is significant while in others increase in taste is not that noteworthy. Superior quality teas are produced at the highest altitudes. Thus, altitude has significant influence on the taste and flavor of Darjeeling tea leaves.