Darjeeling is a scenic town located in the Eastern Himalayas. It is renowned globally for tea plantations that produce high-quality tea. The tea grown in Darjeeling contributes significantly to the country's economy and is picked from an altitude ranging from 600 to 2000 metres above sea level. Darjeeling tea is famous for its subtle flavours and delicate aroma, and it's picked in the perfect two leaves and a bud combination.
Dr. Archibald Campbell was a civil surgeon who realised the potential of tea cultivation in Darjeeling and established the first tea plantations in the 1800s. Initially, tea from these plantations were only used while blending with other teas from other regions until they discovered the unique flavour of tea grown in their own gardens. Over time, Darjeeling tea gained recognition as one of the world's most prestigious teas, and it now produces different types of tea, including black, oolong, green, and white. Here we will explore some of the interesting and useful insights on Darjeeling tea:
Popular types of Darjeeling teas:
The different types of Darjeeling teas are categorised based on the time of harvest, and each type has a distinct taste and character.
The Darjeeling First Flush, also known as spring flush tea, is the first harvest of the season, usually in mid-March to mid-April. It has a subtle and fresh flavour and is high in nutrients and minerals. The greenish brown leaves of this tea give a mild fruity aroma while brewing, and it has a light colour.
The Darjeeling Second Flush, on the other hand, is harvested in the summer, between June and July. It has a darker colour and a deeper muscatel flavour compared to the more citrusy first flush. It is also known as the summer flush variety.
The Darjeeling Monsoon Flush, or rain flush tea, is harvested during the monsoon season, between July and September. The high humidity during this period contributes to the rapid growth of tea, giving it a robust flavour with a slight malty undertone. A roasted variety from this time of the year is quite popular.
Darjeeling Autumnal Flush is harvested right after the monsoon period, sometime between mid October and November. This tea is popular for its dark amber colour and a unique flavour with a light spicy note.
Brewing instructions :
Brewing Darjeeling tea requires a bit of patience. There are a few things to keep in mind to get the best cup of tea:
Always use fresh drinking water. Avoid tap water as the hard flavours may impact the taste of the tea.
Bring the water to a rolling boil and let it cool to around 90 degrees celsius before adding the tea leaves. Steep the tea for the maximum extraction of flavour. However, ensure that you do not let it steep for longer than 3-5 minutes as it may result in bitter taste.
Honey is an excellent choice as it's a natural sweetener that brings out the subtle sweet flavour of the tea without overpowering it. However, Darjeeling tea is best consumed unsweetened.
Depending upon the flush of the tea, you can also add milk to your tea.
Snacks to pair with Darjeeling tea:
Tea drinkers around the world prefer light snacks to go with their tea. These snacks can range from sweet munchies to mildly-spiced delicacies. The choice of pairing depends on personal preference and taste preferences. For those with a sweet tooth, pairing Darjeeling tea with cookies, vanilla tea cakes, and scones is an excellent option. These snacks bring out the subtle sweetness of the tea without overpowering its flavour. On the other hand, if you prefer savoury flavours, you can opt for cold sandwiches, salads, pakoras, and samosas. These snacks complement the taste of black teas very well.
Taste and aroma:
Darjeeling tea is renowned for its complex flavour profile, featuring delicate notes of floral, fruity, and earthy flavours. These subtle hints of flavour are the result of several contributing factors, including the altitude, climatic conditions, and soil that the tea is grown in. The location of the tea gardens can also play a significant role in the flavour profile of the tea, as the taste can vary from one tea estate to another. Typically, Darjeeling tea has a floral aroma that can sometimes be intense, and a subtle undertone of fruity flavour such as muscatel, apricot, or citrus. When sipping Darjeeling tea, one can expect to experience a faint and watery texture in their mouth. The colour of Darjeeling tea usually ranges from bright to a light golden hue, and the tannins in the tea give it an astringent aftertaste.
Darjeeling tea is PGI and has limited harvest
Darjeeling tea is a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) product, which means that it can only be produced in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India. This exclusive status is due to the unique combination of altitude, soil, and climate found in the region, which gives Darjeeling tea its distinctive flavour profile. Additionally, the limited availability of land and strict regulations on production methods result in a relatively small annual harvest of Darjeeling tea, making it a prized and sought-after variety among tea connoisseurs worldwide.
Are you looking to buy Darjeeling tea online?
If you are looking to buy special Darjeeling Tea, choose the finest from our premium collection of Darjeeling teas. Approximately one in every ten cups of Darjeeling Tea is grown in a Jay Shree Tea estate. Choose from first flush, second flush, monsoon flush, and autumnal flush tea.