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Darjeeling Tea

Tucked away in the foothills of the snow- covered Himalayan mountains of northeast India lies the hill resort of Darjeeling 6,000 feet above sea-level and in the most spectacular setting, surrounded by over 49,421 acres of tea bushes. On a clear day, Mount Everest is visible in the distance.

Good Darjeelings are always referred to as the "Champagne" of teas,the subtle, muscatel flavor and wonderful aroma being produced by the unique combination of cool, misty climate, elevation, rainfall, terrain, and the quality of the soil and air.

Most of the bushes cultivated in the Darjeeling region are grown from China seed, China hybrid, or hybrid Assam bushes. The Chinese plants, more resistant to cold, are found in the higher plantations of northern Darjeeling where some bushes grow on sloping terrain over 6,000 feet high. In the southern plantations, which lie at lower elevations, the Assam plant likes the plentiful rainfall. Darjeeling's 102 gardens produce approximately 16,5347 tons per year The pickers, always women, start gathering the leaves in the early morning and sometimes work on terraced slopes that climb steadily upwards at an angle of 45 degrees.

Because of the climate and high elevations, Darjeeling tea bushes do not go on growing throughout the year. The teas are picked from April to October; when the period of winter dormancy begins and growing stops. New growth begins in March after the first light showers of spring .This is the first flush .The second flush is gathered in May and June .The monsoon, which reaches the area in the middle of June and continues until the end of September; brings a total of 9 feet 9 inches to 16 feet 3 inches of rainfall. The teas produced during this period contain a lot of moisture and are of standard quality .The leaves are processed by the orthodox method of , manufacture and have a brownish, black, well- twisted appearance with plenty of golden tip.

First Flush Darjeeling
The Darjeeling bushas'first new shoots-the first flush - are plucked in April .These first teas of the season are much sought after, and fetch incredibly high prices in the world auctions, with wealthy lndian buyers competing with international brokers for this very special tea. Some of the best first flush Darjeelings go to where they have been highly prized since the 1960s, and to Russia. First flush Darjeelings are often marketed and imported rather like Beaujolais Nouveau wines .The new supply of the eagerly awaited harvest is air-freighted to consuming countries (two to four weeks before it would normally become available) and served at special tea tastings and afternoon teas that attract widespread publicity.

In-Between Darjeelings
Darjeeling's "In-Between" teas are gathered in April and May, and produce a flavor that marries the greenness and astringency of the young first flush leaves with the more rounded maturity of the second flush teas that are picked in early summer .These teas are not widely available but worth trying if they can be found. Drink without milk.

Second Flush Darjeeling
Second flush Darjeelings are picked during May and June, and produce excellent quality teas that are considered by many to be better than the first flush and the best that Darjeeling produces. These teas have a rounder; fruitier, more mature, less astringent flavor than the earlier teas .The leaves are darker brown and contain plenty of silvery tip.

Darjeeling Autumnals
Autumnals are gathered in October and November; and give very good quality dark brown leaves after processing,The infusion is copper-colored, much darker than earlier teas.

Darjeeling Blend
Teas from different plucking seasons and from a variety of Darjeeling gardens are blended to give the unique flavor; wonderful aroma, and high quality that the area is famous for.

Darjeeling Green
Although Darjeeling produces mainly black tea, because of the interest in the health benefits of green tea drinking, there are expectations of a growth in demand of quality green teas. Darjeeling is just one of India's tea growing areas that are now producing green tea.

First Flush Darjeeling
Castleton First Flush

Characteristics: Perfect green-brown leaf with plenty of tips from one of the most prestigious gardens in the area, Gives an exquisite perfume and taste of green muscatel
Brewing hints: Brew l1/2 teaspoons in a scant 1 cup water at 203°F. Infuse for 2 to 3 minutes.
Drinking recommendations: Drink without milk as an afternoon tea. Pairs perfectly with smoked salmon, and with fresh strawberries and cream.

Bloomfield First Flush
Characteristics: An exquisite tea from this recognized garden. Beautiful leaf showing plenty of white tip. Its subtle astringent flavor is typical of Darjeeling first flush.
Brewing hints: Brew l1/2 teaspoons in a scant 1 cup water at 203°F. Infuse for 2 to 3 minutes.
Drinking recommendations: An afternoon tea. Drink without milk.

Margaret's Hope
Characteristics: A highly prized tea from a famous garden. Very attractive tippy, green- brown leaf that gives a very clear bright infusion and a gentle delicate flavor.
Brewing hints: Brew 1 teaspoon in a scant 1 cup water at 203°F Infuse for 2 to 3 minutes.
Drinking recommendations: An afternoon tea, Drink without milk.

Second Flush Darjeeling
Namring

Characteristics: Beautiful leaves that give a fruity, balanced taste.
Brewing hints: Brew 1 teaspoon in a scant 1 cup water at 203°F. Infuse for 3 minutes.
Drinking recommendations: An afternoon tea for special occasions. Drink without or with a little milk.

Puttabong
Characteristics Very smooth liquor with marked muscatel flavor.This is one of the best second flush Darjeelings available.
Brewing hints Brew 1 teaspoon in a scant 1 cup water at 203°F. Infuse for 3 minutes.
Drinking recommendations An all-day tea, drink without milk.

Darjeeling Autumnals
Margaret’s Hope

Characteristics Large dark brown leaf that gives a rounded flavor; with plenty of body, and a wonderful aroma.
Brewing hints Brew 1 teaspoon in a scant 1 cup water at 203°R Infuse for 3 minutes.
Drinking recommendations Drink without or with a little milk throughout the day.

Darjeeling Blend
Characteristics A delicate mixture of teas from the best gardens that gives a light infusion with a delicate characteristic muscatel flavor and pronounced aroma.
Brewing hints Brew 1 teaspoon in a scant 1 cup water at 203°F. Infuse for 3 minutes.
Drinking recommendations An afternoon tea. Drink without or with milk

Darjeeling Green
Ayra

Characteristics A rare tea from a well-known garden. Gives an infusion a little like Japanese Sencha An exquisite aroma, delicate taste, and gentle on the palate.
Brewing hints Brew 2 teaspoons in a scant I cup water at 158°F.Infuse for 3 minutes
Drinking recommendations Drink without milk as a digestif or a refreshing drink at any time of the day.

Recommend our Zisha Teapots to brew these teas.