India is a large tea producing nation across the world. Assam and Darjeeling are amongst the chief tea producing regions in this country. Finest quality blends are produced in these regions and are consumed extensively not only in India but also in foreign countries. Distinct flavor and aroma of these blends have craze all round the globe.
Both Darjeeling and Assam produce black tea which is quite popular in global market but there are certain differences between them. The difference is due to cultivation practices and the environmental characteristics of the regions.
Now, let’s take a close look at the distinguishing characteristics of the regions that cater distinctive properties to the teas.
- The Terrain
As you all know, Darjeeling and Assam has geographical difference. Darjeeling tea is cultivated in the slopes in the foothills of the Himalayas whereas in Assam, tea cultivation takes place in lowlands. The altitude of Darjeeling plays a significant role in formation of the structure and flavor of the blend. On the other hand, climatic condition and clayey soil of Brahmaputra valley makes Assam a perfect region for tea cultivation.
Tea leaves have significant contribution to the quality of the beverage. Leaves of Assam teas are larger than Darjeeling. Tea leaves of Darjeeling have fine hairs which are removed in drying process. Also, Assam leaves are glossier and darker than Darjeeling leaves.
When brewed Darjeeling blends obtain light golden color liquor but Assam tea when brewed obtains dark brown color liquor. Thus, appearance is also different and you can easily identify the two.
Darjeeling blends have a delicate muscatel flavor and are a bit spicier than Assam blends. To savor its delicate flavor, it is good to taste Darjeeling tea as it is without adding any sugar and milk. On the contrary, Assam teas taste best with sugar and milk as they have a strong nutty flavor.
Since Assam blends are harvested all round the year, they are produced in large scale and hence, ensure their availability throughout the year. Darjeeling blends have three major harvesting periods which is called the flushes and so, every flush is produced in lesser quantity. Hence, their availability is also in lower quantity as compared to Assam blends. These distinctive characteristics also determine the cost of the two blends. Darjeeling tea is a little costlier than Assam teas as their production is lesser than Assam.