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Darjeeling Tea is so special, so unique, that it has become known as “The Champagne of Tea.” The nickname tells you much. It is an infusion of unparalleled character and charm, one that has endeared Tea connoisseurs the world over. We stock many types here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company. Each one we pack fresh to order, ensuring quality and consistency.
Darjeeling Loose Leaf Tea comes from the Indian district of the same name. The area is in the Lesser Himalayas of West Bengal at an elevation of 6,700 feet (2,042 metres) above sea level. Production started here during the 19th century when a Scottish botanist called Robert Fortune smuggled Tea seeds from China. By 1866, thirty-nine Darjeeling Tea Estates had been established across 1,000 acres of land.
Following independence from Britain in 1947, most gardens transferred to Indian entrepreneurs. The next few decades proved to be turbulent as the region experienced significant political upheaval, elements of which continue to persist today. Nevertheless, Darjeeling District now boasts 87 gardens spread over 17,500 hectares. These create some of the best-known and most-loved infusions in the world.
Is Darjeeling Tea Black Tea or Green? The answer, usually, is Black Tea - despite its green appearance. This has caused much confusion over the years. However, the vast majority of the leaves harvested do, indeed, undergo oxidation. When Tea is oxidised, which involves exposing it to the air to dry and darken, it undergoes changes that influence its chemical composition.
But by that rationale, shouldn’t it be blacker than it is? It turns out that workers purposely reduce its fermentation level to counteract the colour transformation. This makes it look green and fresh and, some would say, more appealing. Even more confusing is that, technically speaking, such a “middle-ground” processing method fits in with the classification of an Oolong Tea! But we still call it Black Tea.
It is First Flush Darjeeling Tea that comes off as the greenest. But what does the term “First Flush” mean? It refers to the first period of harvesting, which often takes place from late-February until mid-April. These are the most precious and sought-after Darjeeling Loose Tea varieties, best described as distinctly muscatel, floral and light on the palate. They are also the most expensive.
Darjeeling Second Flush Tea arrives as early as April and runs through until May or even June. Their leaves are more mature and well-rounded in terms of their taste. Many Estates will then move on to a Monsoon Flush, coinciding with the heavy rainfall of July, the conditions of which create a mild flavour. Finally, there is the full-bodied and fruity Autumnal Flush from mid-September to October.
Whether you pick First, Second, Monsoon or Autumnal Flush, you can expect caffeine in your cup. This stimulating chemical compound exists in around sixty plants, including, of course, the Camellia sinensis (Tea) plant. The constituent provides an energy boost upon consumption, helping us get out of bed in the morning and thus start our day the right way. The average amount in Black Tea is 45-mg per serving.
Is Darjeeling Tea Leaves decaffeinated, though? Not usually, but it can be if you want it to be. Take our Decaffeinated Darjeeling Tea, an infusion that undergoes the ever-safe and efficient Co2 decaffeination process. The result is a Tea with around 98% of its caffeine content extracted - great news for those looking to cut down their intake. But is it nutritional?
A plethora of vitamins, minerals and other antioxidants make up the molecular backbone of Darjeeling Tea. Such chemical compounds combined can neutralise free radicals in the body, the product of natural, though often harmful, human oxidation. This ultimately reduces the risk of developing a multitude of chronic conditions from cardiovascular disease to type-2 diabetes.
But which ones can you expect to find in your favourite brew? Among them are Vitamins B-2, B-5, B-9 and D, Iron, Potassium, Magnesium, Sodium, Manganese, Theaflavin and Thearubigin - to name but a few. And their ability to slow oxidative stress is only the beginning. Darjeeling Tea’s nutritional value indeed goes above and beyond when it comes to numerous other health benefits.
Is Darjeeling Tea good for you? You can count on it. Studies indicate that it can, among other qualities, support the immune system, aid digestion, provide mild anxiety relief and improve the appearance of skin. Then there is the possibility, according to research conducted by the University of Singapore, of it enhancing cognitive function, thereby helping to prevent Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
And we’re still not finished. A Swedish-US collaborative study, for example, found that Black Tea, regardless of the type, maintained oral health. Others have noted that topical application could stimulate hair growth. Even those with high cholesterol will find that frequent consumption can counteract its harmful effects. But perhaps most noteworthy is its capacity to promote weight loss.
Would you believe that Darjeeling Black Tea benefits your waistline? The reason is twofold: It is a decidedly low-calorie choice, containing no more than two calories per 8-oz cup. Perhaps most important, however, is the fact that it boosts the metabolism of fat cells. This enables the body to burn fat quicker and more efficiently, leading to periods of exercise producing better, more noticeable results.
The evidence derives from a study of 111 volunteers drinking three cups of Black Tea daily for three months. Scientists concluded that participants experienced significantly increased weight loss and reduced waist circumference compared to a caffeine-matched control beverage. Just don’t expect it to do all of the work for you. That means keeping up with those morning jogs and evening salads.
The best way to drink Darjeeling Tea is sparingly as side effects could arise from overconsumption. While rare, complications include (but are not limited to) restlessness and sleeplessness (insomnia), headaches, increased urination, irregular heartbeat, nausea and vomiting, tremors and ringing in the ears. Should these issues occur, we would urge you to seek medical consultation.
There is also the question of whether you can have Darjeeling Tea while pregnant. NHS Choices recommends that expecting mothers limit their intake to 200-mg of caffeine daily - the equivalent of four cups of Black Tea.
An alternative would be to have our Decaffeinated Darjeeling Tea TGFOP or perhaps a Herbal Tea. Particularly popular (with conditions) is Raspberry Leaf Tea during pregnancy.
All that’s left is to discover the intricacies of brewing Darjeeling Tea. It is easiest to do so when you buy Darjeeling Tea Bags, which require little effort on your part. Things get a little more complex when it comes to Loose Leaf Tea. Here you will need either a Tea Filter or Infuser before getting started. Once you one of these two items to hand, please follow the below instructions:
1, Put the Leaves in a Tea Infuser or Filter.
One Teaspoon (around two grams) of it should do the trick.
2, Boil Fresh Water.
Put the kettle on with fresh water for better oxygen levels and, ultimately, better taste.
3, Let the Water Cool Briefly.
The ideal Darjeeling Tea brewing temperature is 96°C.
4, Place Tea Infuser in the Cup.
A porcelain cup has the least influence on flavour. Metal ones, in comparison, could create an unwelcome, if somewhat unsurprising, metallic undertone.
5, Pour in Freshly Boiled Water.
Fill your favourite cup or mug with hot water.
6, Allow it to Steep for a Few Minutes.
Leave it for two to four minutes. Any longer, and you might find it has over-brewed.
How to Serve: Whether to have Darjeeling Tea with milk or not is up to you. You could also consider a Milk Alternative for Tea or even honey and lemon.
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