If you are looking for the champagne of all teas, then you will most certainly savor the light, sophisticated flavor and muscatel character of Darjeeling tea.
For centuries, Darjeeling tea has been known as a black tea that has a near-perfect taste. It is not only known as the most exotic of all teas, but it is also known as one the most expensive and brilliantly flavored teas in the world.
“Why is Darjeeling tea so exquisite?” you may ask. Well, the climate in which it is grown pushes it to its absolute limit of tolerance to the weather – and yet the plants still survive. Not only do they live, but the chemical compounds that create the luscious aroma in the leaves are increased. Thus, Darjeeling tea is exceedingly fragrant to the sense of smell. First and second flush Darjeeling teas are worth a great deal of money, and the money from this alone can actually support the entire region’s tea industry for an entire year.
The region that Darjeeling tea is grown in is the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains in India, at a very high altitude. The climate in this region is sub-tropical. This region has eighty-seven tea gardens, which if you are not entirely familiar with tea – is a very great number! An amazing sight to see, each garden has its very own character and landscape.
Approximately 52,000 Nepalese people are workers on these tea gardens. They strive to produce about ten million kilograms of tea annually. The tea gardens literally support the well-being of many families, and some gardens are centuries-old. According to the Tea Board of India, Darjeeling tea is “tea which has been cultivated, grown, produced, manufactured and processed in tea gardens in the hilly areas of the Sadar Sub-Division, only hilly areas of Kalimpong Sub-Division comprising of Samabeong Tea Estate, Ambiok Tea Estate, Mission Hill Tea Estate, Kumai Tea Estate, and Kurseong Sub-Division.”
The interesting thing to note about Darjeeling tea is that it has different tastes depending up the time of the year that it was harvested. Darjeeling tea leaves harvested in the springtime months (from late February to the middle of April) tend to have a more intense taste. However, Darjeeling tea leaves collected in the summer months are more developed, and therefore have a fuller flavor. Autumn-harvested Darjeeling tea leaves are not very common due to the fact that the weather is not always agreeable for growth.
When the weather is good, however, Darjeeling tea harvested in the fall has a very round taste, and often compliments breakfast food, such as pancakes, waffles, toast, breakfast meats, and biscuits very well. As an afternoon tea, Darjeeling can be quite delicious with treats such as scones and raspberry conserve.
You will notice that authentic Darjeeling tea is marked with a Darjeeling tea logo from the Tea Board of India. This logo has been around since 1983, and it verifies that the tea is 100% pure Darjeeling tea.
Tea Party Girl Asks? Do you drink Darjeeling? If so, when?