Darjeeling tea, or the Champagne of Teas as it is universally acknowledged, is second to none among the several varieties of tea in the world.
Its unique taste comes from the soil and climate of the mystical mountainous regions of a small hill-station in East India called Darjeeling. This fine tea makes for less than 1% of the tea production of the world and the workers who are behind the production know its status well. Therefore, only the most tender top leaves and buds are picked to form this wonderful Indian tea. Despite the high quality, they are relatively inexpensive as compared to other high-level teas from China, Japan, or Taiwan.
Here’s what makes this tea so special.
The tea plants in Darjeeling are of the sinensis variety rather than assamica, and they are kept a little short of complete oxidation which makes them more of a cross between black and oolong teas than strictly black. The special aroma of the tea reminds many people of muscatel grapes, and the delicate fruity and sweet taste reminds them of Champagne, hence the popular title. Darjeeling tea is a common ingredient of several brands of English teas.
The best way to prepare Darjeeling tea is to let it steep in a vessel that allows ample space for the leaves to release their taste and aroma. The ideal steeping time is from 2 to 3 minutes. You can experiment between 2 or 3 minutes and decide depending on your preference. It is recommended to add just a drop of milk and a hint of sugar to balance the natural bitterness.