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Darjeeling, a town known for its breathtaking views is India's pride when it comes to producing high quality tea varieties like black, oolong, green, and white tea. It is home to many legacy gardens that hold tea plants that are over a 100 years old.
Tea was introduced to India by Arthur Campbell in 1841. In the year 1847, many tea nurseries were set and by 1846, the Darjeeling tea company came up. Darjeeling tea was the first tea to receive the GI tag and has somewhat become a part of the country's identity.
SPRING, SUMMER, AND AUTUMN TEAS
Darjeeling has 3 main harvest seasons; Spring, Summer, and Autumn. The tea harvested in these different seasons differ from each other in taste and texture.
The spring harvest from February to April is the favourite of many because of its complex flavor. It is processed for a lesser time and has a floral and fruity taste.
Summer, the peak harvest season in Darjeeling and Assam comes right after spring and lasts until mid-June. It is during this season, speciality tea muscatels heralded as the ‘champagne’ of teas, is produced. The name comes from the muscat grapes’ flavor found in these teas.
The tea produced in the last harvest season, Autumn has a more woody and musky quality to it.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A DARJEELING TEA?
Some of the world’s best teas including the high-grade Lopchu tea is produced in Darjeeling. It's classic, delicate and has a particular sweetness to it.
Traditionally the tea produced in Darjeeling was black. Today, although the Darjeeling black tea is still famous and produced in large quantities, with over 90 estates covering 17,500 hectares covering tea plantation, the production of greens, whites, and oolongs have also started. The Darjeeling green tea is especially known for its fresh organic taste and health benefits. The best Darjeeling teas are produced where the air is cold, rainfall is generous, the sun is temperate and the soil is sandy-loamy. This setup is only available at an elevation of 2500 - 5000 feet.
The Darjeeling tea garden is home to many chinary plants, as well as some novel clones. But no matter what tea plant the tea comes from, the teas are immensely fragrant, perfumy and have a captivating quality to them.
TYPES OF DARJEELING TEA
There are different types of Darjeeling tea comprising of different flavors and each of these teas offer a unique taste and benefit to its drinker. Darjeeling black tea is the most popular and preferred worldwide by tea connoisseurs. Then comes other types like the Darjeeling oolong, white and green teas. Let’s look at these tea types in detail:
Darjeeling Black Tea
The most common and traditional form of Darjeeling tea is the Darjeeling black tea. Being a fully oxidized tea, it is made by using orthodox processing methods that includes withering rolling, fermenting, and sorting. It has a dark color and includes a mix of flavors, which are fruity, nutty, flowery and spicy.
Darjeeling Oolong Tea
Similar to traditional Chinese tea, the Darjeeling oolong tea is a semi-oxidized tea and falls in between black tea and green tea. It is dark orange with a green and muscatel flavor, offering a fruity aroma.
Darjeeling Green Tea
This tea is rich in antioxidants that can kill cancer cells very effectively. It is dried and steamed but not fermented which allows the tea to retain its natural nutrients. It has a light green color and a slightly bitter note to it. The green tea is usually not consumed with milk.
Darjeeling White Tea
The most delicate of all tea types is the Darjeeling white tea. This tea is made by first drying the tea in sun and then hand rolling it. This way the tea retains all its minerals and natural ingredients. It has a pale golden color and a hint of natural sweetness.
DARJEELING TEA FLAVORS & SEASON
Darjeeling tea comes in many different types of flavors. These flavors depend on the season the tea was harvested in. Typically there are 4 main harvest seasons. The most awaited and highly consumed teas are harvested in Spring also known as the first flush teas have a mild astringency. After spring we have the second flush teas, which are harvested in the summer season and have the distinct muscatel flavor. Next follows the autumn and the winter tea harvesting season.
DARJEELING TEA GRADES
Darjeeling tea grades depend essentially by the size of the tea leaves (full leaf, broken etc). This to a large extent also determines the quality of the tea and therefore their price. Here are the popular and different grades of Darjeeling tea:
- SFTGFOP: Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe. These are whole leaf tea and of highest grade.
- FTGBOP: Fine Tippy Golden Broken Orange Pekoe. These are broken leaves
- GFOF: Golden Flowery Orange Fannings. Smaller than the broken leaves
- Dust. This is tea dust and are of the lowest grade and price.
The price of Darjeeling teas depends on the grade type and higher the grade, higher the price.
Darjeeling teas are famous and well-honoured in India and all over the world for its flavor and quality. If you are a tea lover and haven’t tried Darjeeling tea yet, you are surely missing out. You can buy Darjeeling tea online in India and get exposed to a number of different tea flavors and infusions. Remember to check the grade, and flush type as per your preference and you are good to go.
Health Benefits of Darjeeling Tea
All types of Darjeeling teas, whether black, white, oolong or green tea, contains catechins and flavonoids that make up the antioxidants in tea. These powerful antioxidants offer protective and curative properties that can provide us with multiple health benefits. Apart from improving overall health, here are a few other health benefits of Darjeeling tea :
- Reducing the risk of cancer: Darjeeling teas contains polyphenolic compounds and also has anti-mutagenic properties which can reduce the frequency of cellular mutations thereby reducing the risk of cancer.
- Improves bone health: A study by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition stated that Darjeeling tea can help increase bone density by at least 3% percent in older women if consumed regularly.
- Promotes weight loss: Being a low-calorie drink high in antioxidants that promote metabolism, Darjeeling tea can help in weight loss.
- Promotes heart health: Most Darjeeling teas are rich in antioxidants like polyphenols, which reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and increases blood flow, which promote heart health
Darjeeling tea and weight loss
Darjeeling tea is a low-calorie drink that can be consumed in place of those regular high-sugary drinks. One cup of Darjeeling tea is said to contain only calories. In addition to this, the catechins in most types of Darjeeling teas help promote metabolism which in turn can burn up to 10 percent more calories. So if you are looking for a healthy alternative to those high-calorie drinks, buy Darjeeling tea. Making Darjeeling tea a part of your daily diet can positively help you in your weight loss journey
Caffeine Content in Darjeeling Tea
The caffeine content in Darjeeling teas will differ depending on the type of tea you are consuming. The Darjeeling black tea contains approximately 20 to 34 mg of caffeine when brewed, however, Darjeeling green or oolong tea contains 9 to 19 mg caffeine. The percent of the caffeine in any Darjeeling tea is still lower than the amount of caffeine present in coffee, making it a better option to coffee.
You can conveniently buy Darjeeling teas online and include it in your diet. We’re sure no matter what type of Darjeeling tea you choose, you’re sure to love it and will definitely experience its freshness, aroma and most importantly it’s abundant health benefits.