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Darjeeling Tea
Savvy Tips & Helpful Hints

What Should You Know About Darjeeling Tea, and Why It’s Different From Other Teas 

Serious tea enthusiasts know that every brew has a different flavor profile. Some are mild, while others are strong. Some teas are delicate, some are assertive, and each one is completely unique. For those who want to try something really new, it’s time to learn more about Darjeeling tea. 

What Is Darjeeling Tea? 

Often known as the Champagne of teas, Darjeeling tea is only grown in the region of India for which it is named. This delicate, delicious black tea deserves the moniker, as it truly does offer a taste of luxury with every cup. Plus, if you like Darjeeling tea, it’s easy to find the right brew for any occasion. 

There are plenty of reasons to consider this type of tea a truly cosmopolitan brew. Technically, the plants that grow Darjeeling tea leaves, known by the scientific name Camellia sinensis var. sinensis,  are native to China. Tea enthusiasts often describe its flavor as being reminiscent of both French wine and Himalayan mountain air. Even for tea drinkers who feel like they’ve tried everything, Darjeeling is so unique it will catch anyone’s attention. 

Types of Darjeeling Tea 

One of the things that make Darjeeling tea so amazing is that it has a completely different taste depending on whether the leaves were picked. Each harvest is known as a flush, and there are three of them without counting mid-flush harvests.  

The first flush is known for its mild body, fruity flavor, and floral aroma, while the second comes with a stronger flavor reminiscent of muscatel wine. The final flush boasts a dark hue and a bold taste. 

While Darjeeling is usually brewed as a black tea, there are also white, green, and oolong varieties to try. As with teas from different flushes, those grown or processed in different ways have unique characteristics.  

The white teas are cultivated near the Himalayan Mountains at high altitudes and undergo a withering process before drying to produce a mild, mellow tea. Darjeeling green has a higher concentration of polyphenols and other beneficial nutrients and is processed via steaming or pan roasting instead of sun-drying to prevent oxidation. The oolong varieties of Darjeeling are truly unique with an orange hue, a light, airy profile, and a distinct muscatel flavor. 

How to Brew the Perfect Cup 

Even a high-quality, first-flush Darjeeling tea won’t come out quite right if whoever is brewing it doesn’t pay attention to the details. To prepare Darjeeling tea properly, it’s important to use filtered or freshly drawn water that will not impact its taste. The water should be heated to around 212oF and poured over the tea bag immediately. 

With Darjeeling teas, timing the infusion is extremely important. Allow the leaves to steep seven to ten minutes before removing the leaves, and don’t let it over-brew. Allowing the infusion process to go on for more than ten minutes can impart an unwanted dark and bitter flavor that overpowers the tea’s more subtle tones. 

The Best Leaves Make the Best Teas 

Whether they’re true tea enthusiasts or not, everyone deserves to try at least one cup of well-brewed Darjeeling tea. Keep in mind that blended teas and those with added flavors tend to mask the brew’s unique, complex profile and look for products that contain only 100% Darjeeling tea that has been harvested and processed properly before being packaged for sale. 

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