Ever Wondered Why Darjeeling Tea is Called Champagne of All Teas
A breathtaking kaleidoscope of snowy walking tracks, the majestic Himalayas, monasteries that are hundreds of years old, the lush green valleys is what makes Darjeeling a must visit hill station in West Bengal. The ‘Queen of the Hills’ is located at an altitude of 6,800 feet is perfect for a family holiday both during summer and winter.
Found at the foothills of the Himalayas, Darjeeling tea is a fine variety tea that is one of the purest teas in the world today. Black, green, white and oolong are the types of popular Darjeeling teas. However, the most popular amongst the many varieties of Darjeeling tea is the black tea.
Why is Darjeeling tea not referred to as wine but champagne of teas?
Exotic aroma is a distinctive characteristic of Darjeeling tea. With smaller tea leaves, a variety known as sinensis varietal, the secret is not be oxidized to produce black tea but a combination of oolongs and black teas.
Due to the colonial influence in this region and the fact the Darjeeling tea is exported to western countries, the processing and selection of tea leaves are performed in a way that will suit the palette of a Westerner. Thus, the secret to why Darjeeling is the champagne of teas is because of the fact that it is produces only on the foothills of the Himalayas in Darjeeling, which obviously cannot be found anywhere else in the world – just like the Champagne region in France.
Darjeeling tea flushes
Since the last 150 years, the way the tea in Darjeeling is manufactured has earned it the title of ‘Champagne of Teas’. Its exclusivity of taste is a direct result of the season when the tea is harvested. The seasonal harvest is referred to as the flush which provides nutrition and makes the tea healthy.
There are three flushes, namely,
- First Flush happens when the tea leaves are picked between March and April, just after the spring rains. At this time of the year, the first lot of the light green coloured leaves are young and delicate are perfect for brewing.
- Second Flush is generally the tea picking period between May and June. By this time, the leaves a re fully developed that offers tea lovers a more full-bodied taste. Brewing offers a darker colours, giving it a fruitier muscatel taste.
- Third Flush is typically around October and November. This variety is closer to the first flush, more like a black tea version.
The process of Making Darjeeling tea
It is the unique process that gives Darjeeling tea that lovely aroma and taste. Here’s what the process involves:
Grading Darjeeling Tea
Grading tea leaves is what helps maintain Darjeeling tea at the standards of quality that it has achieved over the years. The process includes:
- Whole leaf
- Broken Leaf
Brewing A Perfect Cup of Darjeeling Tea - Process
For the tea enthusiasts, the best way to make the most of your cuppa of a Darjeeling tea is by using spring water that is preheated in a pot that is able to extract the best flavor out of the leaves. Do not steep it for more than 3 to 4 minutes. To get maximum taste, it is recommended that the tea should be tasted without sugar or milk. The very sip will transport you to the tea gardens of Darjeeling!