Darjeeling is the name of a small Indian city located on the slopes of the Himalayan Mountains. In the mornings, the city and its environs are shrouded in fog, during the day the sun illuminates and warms the mountain slopes at different angles, and at night comes coolness and humidity. The combination of unique weather conditions, location, and fertile soil prompted the British to organize tea production in the area in the 19th century.
Information about the origin of tea bushes in this district differs: either they were brought to Darjeeling from China, or from another Indian district - Assam. We believe that both options can be considered true because there are about 150 tea farms in Darjeeling County, each with its own unique name and type of tea. By the way, Indian tea always has the same name as the plantation on which it was grown - for example, Richehat, Glenburn, Putabong, Balasun, etc.
Darjeeling is sometimes called "tea champagne", and deservedly so. More than half of the tea grown in this district is sold at special tea auctions, and the price can reach several thousand dollars per kilogram. The most unique varieties can be produced in quantities of as little as 50 kilograms per year, and tea connoisseurs are willing to pay huge amounts of money for them, which is why auctions are so profitable.
So What Is So Unique About This Tea?
The fact is that due to the harsh and changeable weather conditions, the vegetation of the tea bush slows down and the tea acquires completely unique taste and aroma properties. Tea bushes are forced to fight for survival, squeeze the maximum out of every ray of the sun and accumulate nutrients in their leaves.
Darjeeling is harvested exclusively by hand, not only for more careful handling of tea leaves but also because it is simply impossible or unprofitable to use the technique on steep mountain slopes.
Gathering starts at 6-7 am and lasts until 15-16 hours. Before processing, the harvested leaves are weighed several times. leaves covered with morning dew lose moisture during the day and decrease in volume.
Further, tea raw materials are laid out in a thin layer for drying, which can last from 2 to 20 hours. The leaves are additionally blown with cool air. If the collection of raw materials took place after rain or heavy dew, then the cold air is replaced by hot air.
At the next stage, the tea raw materials are placed in rolling machines, where, under pressure, the leaves begin to crumble and release juice, and then are transferred to a well-ventilated fermentation room for 2-4 hours.
Finally, the tea leaves are roasted and sorted. Large-leaved expensive Darjeeling varieties are sifted through large sieves by hand.
Varieties Are Clearly Divided According To The Harvest Time:
1st collection: March-April
Has a light, mild taste and fresh aroma with spicy, vegetable, and fruity notes. The color of the infusion is the lightest; it can be confused with Green Tea. Tea from this collection is most appreciated by connoisseurs and is the rarest and most expensive. The shelf life of Darjeeling tea of the first collection is much lower than that of the second collection, as it quickly loses its quality.
2nd collection: May-June
The color of the infusion is amber. The taste is more tart and strong, there are fewer spicy notes in it. You will definitely not confuse this with green tea, but it is very similar to Indian Assams. Color difference tips: Assam will be black with golden splashes, while 2nd collection Darjeeling will have silver splashes.
3rd collection: October-November
It has a less refined taste and aroma than the first and second collection, the copper color of the infusion. Darjeeling this collection is often not exported.
Categories Of Darjeeling.
Like all Indian Tea, Darjeeling is divided into categories for the quality and size of tea leaves, designated by an abbreviation introduced by the British in the early 19th century:
- Large Leaf:
SFTGFOP (Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) is a large leaf tea of the highest category with a high content of buds.
FTGFOP (Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) is a large leaf tea with a high content of buds.
TGFOP (Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) is a large leaf tea with buds.
- Broken Sheet:
FTGBOP (Fine Tippy Golden Broken Orange Pekoe) is a tea with a broken leaf and 1 category of buds.
TGBOP (Tippy Golden Broken Orange Pekoe) is a tea with a broken leaf and a content of buds.
FBOP (Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe) - Broken leaf tea. The composition includes small twisted leaves.
BOP: Broken Orange Pekoe. Broken leaf tea. Harvested from plantations located in the plains.
- Small Cut Sheet:
GFOF (Golden Flowery Orange Fannings) is a tea made from small cut leaves.
GOF: Golden Orange Fannings - Black Tea with cut leaves. The tea leaves are finer than the GFOF category
- Low-Grade Tea Leaves:
D (English Dust) - crushed tea in the form of powder or literally "tea dust" used for teabags.
* First and second Darjeeling camp
How To Brew Darjeeling Black Tea?
Darjeeling can be brewed in at least two ways, a prerequisite for both is the pure water of the first boiling:
- Like regular black tea. We take 2 grams per 150 ml of water and fill it with water at 85-95 ° C, leave for 2-4 minutes.
- By the straits. Temperature 85-95 ° C. For 150 ml. water uses about 4 grams of tea leaves. The first brew is drained after 3-5 seconds, the second is held for 30 seconds, and each subsequent brew is increased by about 15-20 seconds. Darjeeling can withstand no more than 5 such brews. This method is more suitable for those who like to experiment, you can find your own unique method by changing weight, temperature, and time. It is very important not to overdo it with these parameters, the tea should be moderately bitter and taste notes should be felt in it.
The first and second Darjeeling camp is a type of tea that can be brewed in different ways, each with its own benefits. If you're interested in brewing it like regular black tea, just follow the instructions for making standard black tea. However, if you want to experiment with your own unique method by tweaking weight, temperature, or time parameters while still retaining some bitterness and taste notes then try brewing it according to the "Straight" style mentioned above. Regardless of which way you choose to brew this delicious variety of Indian Tea, there are plenty more varieties worth exploring: Assam Black Tea (black), Pu Erh black tea, Moroccan mint iced tea, etc.
Comment down your favorite tea.