Darjeeling Tea holds a place of pride in India’s heart as the one product from the country to have gained international fame and renown. From famous persons to regular people, everyone is in love with this tea. Darjeeling Black Tea is called the ‘Champagne of Teas’ because of its exquisite taste which has been compared to that of muscatel wine. Let’s get to know more about this intriguing brew which has enthralled many.
The history of how Darjeeling Tea came to be is an exciting tale full of intrigue. By the 19th century, the British had developed a craving for tea. However, China- the main source of Tea, was removing the colonial claws of the empire which would soon lead to a halt in tea trade. To ensure this wouldn't come to pass, the British started selling opium and so began the Opium wars which was made famous in the novels by Amitav Ghosh. However, even then the English had to secure some of the treasured plants of the country to ensure continued supply. This is when the entrance of Robert Fortune took place- a botanist and adventurer who smuggled out the saplings of what has now come to be known as Darjeeling Tea. Since then, it was planted in its eponymous region- Darjeeling which had the perfect climate and conditions to grow the plant.
Darjeeling Tea is cultivated in the foothills of the Himalayas with the rich soil along the river Brahmaputra to further enrich its growth. It’s grown about 600 to 2000 meters above sea level and requires 50 to 60 inches of rainfall to ensure its growth. The cool and humid climate, the rich soil, along with the rainfall and terrain all come together and contribute to creating the perfect environment for growing Darjeeling Tea.Types of Darjeeling Tea
The Different amount of processing and fermentation create different types of teas.
Black Tea- The most well-known as well as the most traditional form, Darjeeling Black tea goes through all the steps of orthodox processing and is fully oxidized. When brewed it’s dark in colour and has nutty, fruity, spicy and flowery notes.
Oolong Tea- Categorised in between Black and green tea, Oolong is similar to traditional Chinese tea- as can be inferred from its name. It’s partially processed and partially fermented and its colour can range from dark to light orange depending on the season or flush it was plucked in. The tea has been said to have a fruity aroma and a muscatel flavour.
Green Tea- This kind of tea is not fermented at all and is dried and steamed instead, which is why when it is brewed it retains so many health benefits.
White Tea- Known for its delicate flavour, White tea is only plucked from the fields, dried in the sun, and hand rolled. It commands the highest price from the 4 types because it’s so labour intensive and requires expert knowledge.
Darjeeling Tea is known to for its distinctive tastes depending on which season the tea was plucked in. The season or flush as it is known to give the tea unique flavours because of which the price of the tea may seem exorbitant to many.
Spring Flush or First Flush, also known as Lover’s Blush, is harvested after the spring rains from the months of March to May. This batch normally commands the highest price.
Summer Flush or Second Flush are harvested during the months of May and June. The flavour of this batch is more pronounced and muscatel in flavour.
The Monsoon Flush is treated more of as an in between flush. The harvest is between the second and third flush during the months of July and September
The Autumnal Flush or the Third flush is the last flush taking place in October and November. Having had a longer life than the other batches, the tea harvested now has a taste distinct from the rest.
There are a number of gradations of Darjeeling Tea leaves which determine the price and the quality determined by the size of the leaf. So the 4 broad categories are
Each with a number of finer grade within them
The brew’s excellent flavour and exciting history has lead to a book being written on it called ‘Darjeeling: The Colorful History and Precarious Fate of the World's Greatest Tea’ by Jeff Koehler, for those who want to delve further into the story of the brew. For others, who want to get right to drinking the delicious brew you could order Darjeeling Tea Leaves online. If you want our opinion, visit Halmira’s online tea store. As a company with more than a century of experience, their processing methods have been perfected to give you the perfect cup of Darjeeling Black Tea. Get the best Darjeeling Tea online at Halmira’s.
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