What makes Darjeeling Loose Leaf Tea special ?
The history of this world is with accidental discoveries, discoveries that changed the ways of the world and left an imprint in the memory of mankind. Penicillin, discovered by Alexander Fleming, turned out to be a wonder drug during those times, curing a range of illness.
Similarly, somewhere in China ages ago tea made its first appearance. Tea was first discovered by the legendary Chinese emperor and herbalist, Shen Nong, in 2737 BCE. It is said that the emperor liked his drinking water boiled before he drank it so it would be clean, so that is what his servants did. Legend has it that the discovery of tea was an accident, when a tea leaf fell in Chinese Emperor Shen Nong’s cup of hot water. That’s how it was discovered and gained its popularity over the years.
Also the discovery of tea bags happened by chance. In 1908 a man named Thomas Sullivan had packed tea bags as samples for his customers, with a thought that it could be emptied while preparing tea. But customers assumed it had to be dipped in hot water and that’s how tea bags were discovered.
Tea is now grown all over the world. It is today a $40 billion industry, making it, after water, the most popular drink on the planet. But there is only one place that produces what has come to be known as “The Champagne of Teas,” a title bestowed by the UK Tea Council, in honor of its exquisite flavor, a distinctive light brew with a telltale Muscatel flavor: Darjeeling.
Darjeeling loose leaf tea is grown at the foot of the Himalayas, in the Darjeeling region of northern India. There are a number of factors which influence the quality of Darjeeling tea. Some of them include the climate, elevation, terrain and type of bush used. To understand why Darjeeling produces the best tea, it is first important to understand the basic growing requirements of the tea plant. The tea plant is highly adaptable, and can grow in a broad range of conditions. The tea plant can handle a light frost and even snow but not heavy freezes or prolonged cold winters. It can thus grow from subtropical climates to tropical climates, but generally requires a fair amount of humidity and rainfall during the growing season. Although it can grow in hot tropical climates if they are sufficiently humid, the highest-quality teas mostly come from subtropical climates with some seasonality.
Darjeeling, located at an altitude of 2042 meters happens to suit tea cultivation at its best. Darjeeling has a temperate climate with wet summers caused by monsoon rains. The annual mean maximum temperature is 14.9 °C (58.8 °F) while the mean minimum temperature is 8.9 °C (48.0 °F), with monthly mean temperatures ranging from 6 to 18 °C (43 to 64 °F). The seasonality of precipitation is important in influencing the quality of tea, and tea leaves harvested at different times will produce a finished product with vastly different characteristics. Seasonality is thus an asset in tea production.
Tea shrubs require fertile mountain soil mixed with lime and iron. The soil should be rich in humus. The soil quality of Darjeeling hills meets the requirements and permits a free percolation of water, for tea is highly intolerant to stagnant water. The hilly terrain therefore is most suitable as it allows natural drainage for the proper growth of Darjeeling loose leaf tea
However, it is the people in the tea business who are the cornerstone for good Darjeeling tea. Tea cultivation and processing are labor-intensive tasks. It takes patience and a lot of dedication to produce good quality tea year after year. The work of field preparation, weeding, manuring, pruning and picking goes on all the year round on tea estates. Picking is done entirely by hand which in itself is a back breaking work.
Very quickly after harvesting, the tea leaves are processed to produce the various colors of Teas : White Tea, Green Tea, Black Tea and Oolong Tea among others. Nothing is added to the tea leaves – exclusively know – how and the natural processing of the leaf causes the change in color. Many stages and chemical reactions must be controlled to obtain a leaf which is rich in odorous compounds.
Processing the leaf influences the organoleptic characteristics of the tea, primarily its olfactory profile.
About our Gardens :
Gopaldhara Tea Estate : Gopaldhara is one of the highest plantations in Darjeeling region. It stretches from 3500 ft to 7000 ft. Established in 1881 and has been making exquisite teas for its worldwide clientele. All our Teas are freshly packed at Gardens so that you get the best flavours and aroma.
Rohini Tea Estate : Rohini Tea Estate is located in the Kurseong valley of Darjeeling. Rohini is the youngest tea estate in Darjeeling. These teas that are made from harvested leaves in Rohini are of the Chinese origin and in the second flush produce exquisite muscatel teas.
To know more about the different types of Authentic Darjeeling loose leaf tea visit our website : www.gopaldharaindia.com
One thought on “Demystifying Darjeeling Tea”
Darjeeling tea is the best.