Guide to Darjeeling Tea and why it’s so special.
Though all teas come from the same plant, Camelia sinensis, the aroma, taste, and flavour of the tea leaves depend on the climate, soil, and regional conditions of the place where it has been manufactured. India has three major regions for tea plantations: Darjeeling, Assam, and Nilgiri. Each region has a different climate and soil conditions. This distinction is clearly visible in the flavours of the tea leaves. Darjeeling tea is one of the most appreciated of all teas in India.
How friendly the weather is for tea plantations in the Himalayan foothills?
Darjeeling region is situated in the northern part of the country in the cold foothills of the Himalaya. Due to the cold climate, tea plantations are difficult in this region. Due to the lack of agricultural land for tea, the production is lower. Darjeeling produces less than 1% of the tea that is produced in India every year.
But despite the number of difficulties, this region produces the finest quality tea in India. In spring and summer, the warm weather, enough rainfall, cloud mist, cool evenings, and fertile soil make the perfect conditions for tea plantations in Darjeeling. All the factors synergize together to add the unique flavour to the Darjeeling tea leaves.
Why is Darjeeling tea so famous?
Darjeeling tea tastes better than any other black tea. Someone who is habituated to drinking Darjeeling tea won’t switch to any other black tea for sure. But what is the secret behind the charismatic flavour of the tea? The answer is simple: climate conditions, soil chemistry, and most importantly, temperature.
Darjeeling tea estates produce various types of tea leaves, like green, black, and white. But among all these, black tea is the specialty of these tea regions. Unlike other black teas, these are less oxidized because of the lower exposure to sunlight in the Himalayan foothills. Hence, the tea leaves are light black in colour. These tea leaves have a light aroma and a fruity essence, just like Champagne. A cup of Darjeeling tea offers a delicate, flowery scent. Because of its unique flavour and essence, tea connoisseurs often call it the Champagne of Tea.
Let’s discuss some of the Darjeeling teas, which are vastly consumed by tea lovers around the globe.
Darjeeling First Flush- In the world of tea, the word flush stands for the harvesting of tea leaves. First Flush tea is harvested in the first spring of the year. In the winter, the tea leaves become dormant. In the spring, when the sunlight smiles on the sky, the tea plants wake up from hibernation and start growing. The first flush is the season's first harvest, so the tea leaves are high in nutrients and minerals. The tea leaves are light brown in colour. While brewing in water, it releases a light colour and a mild fruity aroma.
Darjeeling Second Flush- As it is mentioned in the name, second flush tea is harvested just after the first flush. The ideal time for harvesting the second flush is June to July. On hot summer days, the tea leaves get the most sunlight exposure. For that reason, second flush tea leaves are darker in colour and have a stronger muscatel flavour compared to those from the first flush.
Darjeeling White Tea- Darjeeling white tea is very delicate in nature. The tea leaves are hand-picked, dried in the sun, and hand-rolled. The post-plucking procedures and withering process give these tea leaves a delicate aroma. White tea is appreciated worldwide because of its smooth and sweet taste and flavour. Darjeeling White tea has a natural pale-gold colour and a smooth, sweet flavour. As a result, it commands higher market rates.
What are the benefits of consuming Darjeeling Tea?
Tea is usually drunk for two reasons. One is, of course, the taste and aroma, and the other is the health benefits. Undoubtedly, Darjeeling tea is excellent in taste, but what about its health benefits? Let’s discuss that.
Boosts energy- It contains a higher amount of caffeine. A cup of Darjeeling black tea contains 120 mg of caffeine. Which is considered a quite hefty amount of caffeine in black tea. Caffeine is excellent for boosting energy. Consuming a cup of Darjeeling black tea every day can pack you with energy.
Full of antioxidants- It is produced in the Himalayan foothills. This soil of the place contains a number of nutrients and minerals. Specially, the first flush and White Tea both enriched with multiple antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are quintessential for building immunity in the body, reducing ageing process and cellular damage, mitigating the risk of chronic illness.
Assists in weight loss- Usually, Darjeeling tea is low in calories if it is not sweetened. Obesity is the curse of the era. A lot of people suffer from that disease. Along with the green teas of Darjeeling, the black tea leaves are quite helpful to lose weight. These are not only low in calories but also give you an extra caffeine boost. Which will eventually not let you feel less energetic.
Improves heart and nerve health- Research shows that Darjeeling tea increases regular blood flow and reduces LDL cholesterol in the body. LDL is considered bad cholesterol, unlike HDL, and is responsible for a number of cardiovascular diseases. Not only that, some studies show that consuming Darjeeling tea daily can reduce the chance of a nervous breakdown.
Calming effects- Stress plays a major role in triggering some dangerous diseases in the body, like hypertension, heart conditions, bad skin and hair, asthma, insomnia, anxiety, depression, etc. Any of these diseases is enough to make someone miserable. Consuming Darjeeling tea every day can regulate the production of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a stress hormone which mitigates the stress and anxiety in the body and relaxes the nerves. This is why drinking a cup of Darjeeling tea fills you with joy!
See, there are a number of reasons that hail for Darjeeling tea. It is not only about the taste, aroma, colour and flavour of the tea leaves. There are a number of benefits that make the tea so special. It can be said that if a tea lover doesn’t taste the aroma of Darjeeling tea leaves, then his journey in the world of tea is not complete!