This post may contain affiliate links, see our Affiliates Disclosure.
What is Darjeeling tea?
Darjeeling tea comes from the Darjeeling district in West Bengal, India. Best Darjeeling teas are harvested, processed and packed and shipped garden fresh straight from tea estates.
Darjeeling teas are bright and aromatic with a light floral flavor often referred to as “muscatel”. With mild astringency and honey-like aftertaste the Darjeeling completely justifies its name The Champagne of Teas.
Know your teas. When shopping for the best Darjeeling tea, look for the following terms in the descriptions
- Flush (harvest). There are two main tea harvest seasons in India. The first flush is harvested in spring. This tea is very light in color and has a gentle aroma and mild astringency. The second flush is harvested in summer and produces an amber, full bodied, muscatel-flavored tea. Besides these, there are Monsoon and Autumn Darjeelings that are harvested during the rainy seasons. These tend to be heavily oxidized, have a fuller body, and are often used as a base for chai and other flavored teas.
- Darjeeling Gardens. The name ‘Darjeeling’ is legally protected. For a tea to be labeled ‘Darjeeling’, it has to be grown in one of the tea gardens of Darjeeling district and produced according to its standards. There are 87 tea gardens (estates) in the region. Each estate produces teas with their own character, taste, and aroma. The best Darjeeling teas are processed, packed, and shipped directly from the source to preserve their freshness and authenticity.
- Oxidation. Traditionally, Darjeeling plantations have produced some of the best black teas available on the market. Today, however, tea from this region is also available in the green, oolong, and white varieties.