Darjeeling tea is a tea grown in the Darjeeling district, Kalimpong District in West Bengal, India, and widely exported and known. It is processed as black, green, white and oolong tea.
When properly brewed, it yields a thin-bodied, light-coloured infusion with a floral aroma. The flavour can include a tinge of astringent tannic characteristics and a musky spiciness sometimes described as "muscatel"
Unlike most Indian teas, Darjeeling tea is normally made from the small-leaved Chinese variety of Camellia sinensis var. sinensis, rather than the large-leaved Assam plant (C. sinensis var. assamica). Traditionally, Darjeeling tea is made as black tea; however, Darjeeling oolong and green teas are becoming more commonly produced and easier to find, and a growing number of estates are also producing white teas.
After the enactment of Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection Act, 1999) in 2003, Darjeeling tea became the first Indian product to receive a GI tag, in 2004–05 through the Indian Patent Office
|Origin||India, West Bengal, Darjeeling|
|Tea Type||Black tea|
|Harvest Season||Spring, Summer, Autumn|
Picking → Withering → Bruising → Oxidation
|Recommended Brewing||3 g to 150 ml, at 85°C for 45s|
According to the Tea Board of India, "Darjeeling Tea" can only refer to tea that has been cultivated, grown, produced, manufactured and processed in tea gardens in the hilly areas of Sadar Subdivision, only hilly areas of Kalimpong District consisting of Samabeong Tea Estate, Ambiok Tea Estate, Mission Hill Tea Estate and Kumai Tea Estate, and Kurseong Subdivision excluding the areas in jurisdiction list 20, 21, 23, 24, 29, 31 and 33 comprising Siliguri subdivision of New Chumta Tea Estate, Simulbari and Marionbari Tea Estate of Kurseong Police Station in Kurseong Subdivision of the District of Darjeeling in the State of West Bengal, India grown on picturesque steep slopes up to 4000 ft (ca. 1200 m).
When brewed, tea grown and processed in this area has a distinctive, naturally occurring aroma and taste, with light tea liquor; the infused leaf also has a distinctive fragrance.
Traditionally, Darjeeling teas are classified as a type of black tea. However, the modern Darjeeling style employs a hard wither (35–40% remaining leaf weight after withering), which in turn causes an incomplete oxidation for many of the best teas of this designation, which technically makes them a form of oolong.
Many Darjeeling teas also appear to be a blend of teas oxidized to levels of green, oolong, and black.