Darjeeling Tea Experience!

Darjeeling Tea Experience!
We were driving around on the spiral narrow roads for a while until we surfaced around a tea plantation estate and paused when we narrowed our eyes, we could notice a few ladies plucking the tea leaves which were now the first flush of the Darjeeling tea.

The First Flush leaves are tea leaves from late February onwards until mid-April is the time when most of the tea leaves are of the freshest quality and the tea leaves must be plucked every four or five days. “Slender leaves, lacquered green, the tea produces a pale-gold liquor that’s grassy with fresh cut field aromas, a floral bouquet with an intense fruitiness in the mouth says Koehler.

Darjeeling tea leaves are available through out the year, but the quality differs through the year. Tea in general is categorised into six variants black, oolong, green, yellow, white and pu-erh. 

The six type of tea comes from the same plant itself, it’s the processing that makes the difference. Very similar to coffee beans. They are all the same beans the altitude and processing makes them fruity, light or dark roast.

India is a country that generally, produces a lot of black tea which is withered and fermented. Whereas Green tea is produced through a process of steaming the leaves and a lot of is produced in Assam compared to Darjeeling tea.

oolong Tea is semi-fermented and though a lot of tea drinkers aren’t aware.

It provides the benefits of both Green & black tea and has higher antioxidants than green tea.

Pu-erh is another type of tea that’s a variety of dark, fermented and aged black tea.

As we settled into the tea estate and discussed the tea planation process the Pluckers also told us about the other tea flushes of the seasons.

The Second Flush 

Mid-April onwards until the Mid May the weather places an important role as sudden showers change the tea leaves and the heat makes the leaves drier and changes the colours to deeper amber and mahogany hues. The second flush tea is as high in price as the first flush for this reason.

The Monsoon Flush : 

July through September is the worst period for the tea plantation estate. As the plants are damaged with rainfalls. The flavours are lost and the a quality of tea is rarely sold in the market as Darjeeling tea.

The Autumn Flush: 

The period from October to November is the final flush of the season and although the

It has that body, amber colour, very defined favours, from malts to chocolates to fruity notes,

“It doesn’t offer the same quality of the first flush or the second flush.

  Koehler quotes Sanjay Sharma of Glenburn estate.

And the price the buyers pay for this makes them feel cheated.“

Did You Know?

Darjeeling is India’s only geographically indicated (GI) product, protected by a WTO patent And yet it’s not marketed as an activity for tourist or tourism.

it takes 22,000 selectively handpicked shoots to produce a single kilo of Darjeeling tea.

Tea was first mentioned as a beverage some 2,500 years ago in China and became a prized ceremonial drink at the royal court. Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism, called it ‘the elixir of life’.

There are only 87 tea gardens that produce Darjeeling Tea.

Makaibari is the estate known for the finest quality of Darjeeling tea.

They recently auctioned 1 kg white tea for about one lakh.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted Darjeeling Tea to Queen Elizabeth II when she invited him to lunch in Buckingham Palace. The queen prefers Darjeeling and Earl Grey tea.

Darjeeling black tea is rich, fragrant and sophisticated, and serving it is a palace tradition.

Darjeeling tea is one of the only few Indian luxury brands that are at the afternoon tea salons in London’s The Dorchester, Claridges, Langhams, The Ritz or the Orangery at Kensington Palace.


The Darjeeling tea book by Jeff Koehler.


Published by nandakhil

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