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Varieties of Tea

Find out what Darjeeling Tea is all about

by Shreya Dey 25 Jan 2023 0 Comments

What is Darjeeling Tea

Tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world and there are many different types to choose from. Darjeeling tea is a type of black tea that originates from the Darjeeling region of India. It is known for its light and delicate flavor.

 The tea leaves are harvested by plucking the plant's top two leaves and the bud, from March to November, a time span that is divided into four flushes. The first flush consists of the first few leaves grown after the plant's winter dormancy and produce a light floral tea with a slight astringency; this flush is also suitable for producing a white tea. Second flush leaves are harvested after the plant has been attacked by a leafhopper and the camellia tortoix so that the leaves create a tea with a distinctive muscatel aroma. The warm and wet weather of monsoon flush rapidly produces leaves but they are less flavorful and often used for blending. The autumn flush produces teas similar, but more muted, to the second flush.

History of Darjeeling Tea

The history of Darjeeling tea is a long and interesting one, dating back to the early 1800s. The tea is grown in the Darjeeling region of India, which is renowned for its beautiful scenery and ideal growing conditions. The tea bushes are grown on the slopes of the Himalayan mountains, and the tea leaves are hand-picked and processed using traditional methods.

The Darjeeling region produces a distinctive type of tea that is prized for its unique flavor and aroma. The tea is typically light in color and has a delicate, floral taste. Darjeeling tea is often referred to as the "champagne of teas" due to its luxurious flavor and reputation as a premium tea.

The first Darjeeling tea was grown in 1841 by a Scottish doctor named Robert Fortune. Dr. Fortune was sent to China by the British East India Company in order to learn about the Chinese tea trade. While in China, he observed the methods used to grow and process tea, and he brought these methods back to India. Dr. Fortune's tea plants were grown in the Darjeeling region, and the tea produced from these plants was of a high quality. The British East India Company was so impressed with the quality of the Darjeeling tea that they began to purchase it for their own use.

The popularity of Darjeeling tea continued to grow in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The tea became known as a luxury item, and it was often given as a gift or served at special occasions. Darjeeling tea was also exported to other countries, and it became one of the most popular teas in the world.

Today, Darjeeling tea is still grown in the same region of India, and it is still prized for its unique flavor and aroma. The tea is still hand-picked and processed using traditional methods, and it continues to be one of the most popular teas in the world.

Geography and climate:

Darjeeling tea is grown in the Darjeeling and Kalimpong district, an area bound by Nepal to the west, Bhutan to the east and Sikkim to the north. The Tea board of India defines "Darjeeling Tea" as having "been cultivated, grown, produced, manufactured and processed in tea gardens in the hilly areas of Sadar Subdivision, only hilly areas of Kalimpong districts..., and kurseong Subdivision of the District of Darjeeling in the State of West Bengal, India." The tea gardens are located on the hillsides of the Eastern Himalaya, between 600 and 2,000 metres in elevation. That Physical geography of the Darjeeling Himalayan hill region, between the Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal , results in the land experiencing cool air with dry winter months from November to February followed by monsoon weather in the summer months between July and September.

The Subtropical and wet temperate forest cover that developed under these conditions left slightly acidic loamy soils with high organic materials. Being on steep slopes, the soil is well-drained and deep enough for long root systems, necessary for anchoring soil on slopes. Being on the sides of the hills, at high elevations where cool dry air interacts with warm moist air, there can be persistent fog or cloud cover during the growing months. These are ideal conditions for the Camellia sinensis sinensis plant which flourishes with well-drained, slightly acidic soils, with periods of dormancy, and limited direct sunlight.

Cultivation:

The first pluckings in Spring, generally March into May, are referred to as the first flush. These first leaves following the winter dormancy are the most tender leaves the plant will produce and result in a tea that has a gentle, very light colour and aroma, and a mild astringency (or briskness). The second flush is harvested in May and June, after the Empoasca and Homona coffearia have attacked the plant, releasing compounds that create a distinctive full-bodied muscatel flavour in the tea. The attacks by the leafhopper and moth release defensive chemicals from the plant and naturally begins oxidation process within the leaves. These first two flushes are the most sought after by tea connoisseurs.

The plant rapidly grows during the monsoon flush from July to September with larger and less flavourful leaves. The persistent rain also results in less complete withering and oxidization during the processing stage. Some estates create green or white teas from these as they demand less withering and no oxidation, however, when completed as black tea this flush is often sold below the cost of production for use in blending and domestic consumption. After the rainy season, the final leaves grown before the plant's winter dormancy are referred to as the autumnal flush. They are harvested in October–November and provides a herbaceous and soft muscatel flavour but with a fuller body and darker colour than previous flushes, and is compared favorably with Nepali Teas.

Flavour of Darjeeling Tea:

Darjeeling tea has a unique flavor that is different from other types of tea. The flavor of Darjeeling tea is often described as floral, muscatel, or fruity. Darjeeling tea is usually light in color, and it has a slightly astringent taste. The unique flavor of Darjeeling tea is due to the terroir of the Darjeeling region. The Darjeeling region has a unique climate and soil, which gives the tea its distinctive flavor.

  • The Tea Plant

One of the main factors that contributes to the flavor of Darjeeling tea is the type of tea plant that is used. The two main types of tea plants that are used to produce Darjeeling tea are the Camellia sinensis sinensis plant and the Camellia sinensis assamica plant. The Camellia sinensis sinensis plant is a small-leaved plant that is native to China. This plant is used to produce many different types of tea, including green tea, white tea, and oolong tea. The Camellia sinensis assamica plant is a large-leaved plant that is native to India. This plant is used to produce many different types of tea, including black tea and Darjeeling tea.

The flavor of Darjeeling tea that is made with the Camellia sinensis sinensis plant is typically lighter and more delicate than the flavor of Darjeeling tea that is made with the Camellia sinensis assamica plant. The Camellia sinensis assamica plant produces a tea that is full-bodied and has a strong flavor.

  • The Growing Conditions

Another factor that contributes to the flavor of Darjeeling tea is the growing conditions. The Darjeeling region has a climate that is cool and humid, with average temperatures ranging from 15 to 25 degrees Celsius. The region also receives a lot of rainfall, with an average of 2,500 millimeters of rain per year. These conditions are ideal for the growth of tea plants. The cool and humid climate of the Darjeeling region helps to produce a tea that is light and refreshing. The high amount of rainfall in the region helps to produce a tea that is well-balanced and has a complex flavor.

  • The Processing Method

The final factor that contributes to the flavor of Darjeeling tea is the processing method. Darjeeling tea is typically processed using the orthodox method. This method involves withering the tea leaves, rolling them, oxidizing them, and then drying them. This process helps to bring out the unique flavor of Darjeeling tea.

Benefits of Darjeeling Tea

Darjeeling tea is rich in antioxidants, which can help to protect your cells from damage. Antioxidants are believed to have many health benefits, including reducing  heart disease. Darjeeling tea also contains caffeine, which can help to improve your mental alertness and focus. Darjeeling tea is rich in antioxidants, which are compounds that can help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause cell damage, and they are a major contributing factor to many chronic diseases. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals and prevent them from causing cell damage. Darjeeling tea also contains polyphenols, which are another type of compound with antioxidant properties. In addition to its antioxidant content, Darjeeling tea also has anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is a major factor in many chronic diseases, and Darjeeling tea can help to reduce inflammation.

why we should drink Darjeeling tea in winter:

Drinking Darjeeling tea in the winter is a great way to stay warm and healthy. It has many benefits that make it an ideal beverage for the cold season. Another great reason to drink Darjeeling tea in winter is its comforting warmth. The hot beverage can help to keep us warm on cold days and nights, and it can also help to soothe sore throats and other winter ailments. Additionally, the aroma of Darjeeling tea can be very calming and relaxing, making it a great way to unwind after a long day. All of these factors make Darjeeling tea an ideal choice for winter drinking.

    Conclusion

    Darjeeling tea is a type of tea that is known for its unique flavor. There are many factors that contribute to the flavor of Darjeeling tea, including the type of tea plant, the growing conditions, and the processing method. The Camellia sinensis assamica plant is the type of tea plant that is most commonly used to produce Darjeeling tea. This plant produces a tea that is full-bodied and has a strong flavor. The cool and humid climate of the Darjeeling region helps to produce a tea that is light and refreshing. The high amount of rainfall in the region helps to produce a tea that is well-balanced and has a complex flavor. The final factor that contributes to the flavor of Darjeeling tea is the processing method. Darjeeling tea is typically processed using the orthodox method. This method involves withering the tea leaves, rolling them, oxidizing them, and then drying them. This process helps to bring out the unique flavor of Darjeeling tea.

    Thank you for reading! We hope you found this article interesting and informative.