Growing Darjeeling Tea


'The finest flavour' 

Darjeeling is the world capital of quality tea. This region, high in the foothills of the Himalayas, produces tea of exceptional quality known for its unique delicate aroma and flavour. Darjeeling Tea is distinctive because of the height at which it is grown (between 3000 and over 6,000 ft above sea level) the higher the elevation the more delicate the flavour. The special conditions of this region give the product its subtle flavour and uniqueness.

Tea grown in this area, demarcated by the Tea Board of India as producing this fine variety, makes up only a small part of the total production of teas in India.

The tea estates (called Tea Gardens) in Darjeeling each produce tea with different characteristics in taste and aroma.

Darjeeling Tea is called the ‘Champagne of teas’ and is loved the world over.

Tea gardens

Each flush (growth spurt) has a slightly different flavour.  Tea also varies considerably with the combination of climate, soil, etc. that makes each garden unique.  The First Flush is harvested in late March and April, with the plucking done generally in the morning when the dew is still left on the leaves.  This tea has a gentle, very light colour, aroma, and mild astringency.  The Second Flush is harvested from end April till the rains arrive in mid-June, and produces an amber, full bodied infusion with floral notes. 

It takes 22,000 shoots to produce one kilogram of leaf tea!  After picking, the leaves are withered, rolled, dried, and then sorted and graded. The process used in the fermentation and drying of the leaves determines whether the tea will be Green, White, Black or Oolong.   Traditionally, Darjeeling teas are classified as a type of black tea.  Incomplete oxidation resulting from the process used produces some of the best teas of this kind.

The White variety of Darjeeling tea has a very delicate aroma and infuses to a pale golden colour with a mellow taste and a hint of sweetness. The leaves are fluffy and light, being hand picked and rolled, then withered in the sun.  Only 100 g of tender shoots are harvested per day by woman tea-pluckers and 25 g of White Tea is produced from this.

Darjeeling - view from Kurseong
Tea picker