INCREDIBLE INDIAN DARJEELING TEA
Darjeeling tea is a tea made from Camellia sinensis var. sinensis that is grown and processed in the Darjeeling or Kalimpong Districts in West Bengal, India. Since 2004, the term Darjeeling tea has been a registered geographical indication referring to products produced on certain estates within Darjeeling and Kalimpong. The tea leaves are processed as black tea, though some estates have expanded their product offerings to include leaves suitable for making green, white and oolong teas.
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 tortrix 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 flavourful and often used for blending. The autumn flush produces teas similar, but more muted, to the second flush.
Tea plants were first planted in the Darjeeling region in the mid-1800s. At the time, the British were seeking an alternative supply of tea apart China and attempted growing the plant in several candidate areas in India. Both the newly discovered assamica variety and the sinensis variety were planted but the sloped drainage, cool winters and cloud cover favoured var. sinensis. The British established numerous tea plantations, with the majority of workers being Gorkhas and Lepchas from Nepal and Sikkim. After independence, the estates were all subsequently sold to businesses in India and regulated under the laws of India. The Soviet Union replaced the British as the primary consumers of tea from Darjeeling. As Darjeeling tea gained a reputation for its distinctiveness and quality, it was marketed more to Western Europe with many estates acquiring organic, biodynamic and Fairtrade certifications and the Tea Board of India pursuing authentication and international promotion of Darjeeling teas.
ALL SEASON DARJEELING – this is spectacular