In India, near the year 1850, a civil surgeon, Dr. Campbell, planted Darjeeling tea, commonly referred to as the “champagne of teas,” in his garden at Beechwood, Darjeeling, as an experiment.
It yielded a magnificent tea that is popular today due to its rich grape-like flavors. The unique flavors actually make Darjeeling taste more like wine than tea. It is something you have to experience to fully understand.
Darjeeling originated in China, but the tea grows rather well in the high-reaching elevations of India. It is classified as a black tea even though it's less oxidized than most black teas. Its flavor is captivating and will intrigue you even if you are not a regular tea drinker.
There are many varieties including black, white, oolong and green. Once you try them you will fully understand why it’s considered one of the world’s finest teas.
How to brew Darjeeling tea
The process of brewing Darjeeling tea is important in yielding its finest flavors.
Here are some pointers you may want to consider:
- Selecting water – It's important to use soft, filtered water, natural spring water, or non-carbonated bottled water. The water you use can greatly change the flavor you yield from your Darjeeling tea.
- Steeping Darjeeling – Place your Darjeeling leaves in the tea pot after the water has just dropped below the boiling point. That means that once the water boils, turn off the heat and put the tea leaves in a few minutes later. Never pour boiled water on the tea leaves because this compromises the flavor and nutritional value. Allow steeping for your preferred infusion time and then filter your tea using an additional teapot.
- Bring water to a rolling boil.
- Cut off the heat.
- Wait a few minutes for the water to cool slightly.
- Add two teaspoons of leaves for each 8 ounce cup.
- Steep 2-3 minutes in an uncovered teapot.
- Darjeeling leaves can be used for second and third infusions, so don’t toss the steeped leaves.
- Strain and serve.
How to serve Darjeeling tea
Using the correct tea accessories can really make the difference when you're trying to attain the right aroma and flavor from your tea. The best way to brew and serve your Darjeeling tea is using porcelain teapots and cups.
The steeping time required for the differing varieties of Darjeeling teas fluctuates according to the tea type, tea quantity, and tea flush. You may have to experiment with the steeping time to perfect the flavor to your personal preference.
If you want to serve the tea at its best, heat the tea pot that you will be serving from before you pour the steeped tea into it. By boiling water in the tea pot before pouring in your freshly steeped tea, you warm the pot. This ensures that your tea will remain hot for a longer amount of time.
Don't forget to pour the boiling water in your teapot out before pouring your steeped tea inside.
How to drink Darjeeling tea
If you were about to offer your guests milk and sugar for their Darjeeling tea – STOP!
All varieties of Darjeeling teas are tastefully consumed sans milk and sugar. You could add lemon, but even then you might be missing out on the delicate aromas and flavors of the raw Darjeeling tea.
Any added flavors detract from the rich and aromatic taste and the rare layers of its deliciousness.
What goes well with Darjeeling tea?
Every type of tea has been grown, picked, and processed uniquely in its own region of the world. They couple well with foods of the land’s traditional cuisines. Each can be smartly paired with foods that complement its flavors.
Darjeeling tea would go well with petite biscuits, cookies, cheesecake, éclairs, trifle, or other sweet desserts. Its citrusy flavor is complemented by creamy, rich sweetness.
Does Darjeeling tea have caffeine?
Caffeine levels in tea can vary greatly because there many factors that determine caffeine content.
- Where the tea is grown
- How it's cultivated
- Leaf size
- The production process
Darjeeling tea does have caffeine. Typically it contains about one-half the amount you would receive from a cup of coffee, approximately 40 to 70 milligrams per 8-ounce serving. The range depends how strong you make the tea.
Health benefits of Darjeeling tea
Darjeeling tea offers many health benefits. These include:
All teas contain antioxidants which help flush our bodies of toxins. According to Livestrong, teas like Darjeeling are especially rich in antioxidants called theaflavins and thearubigins, which help neutralize free radicals and other chemicals that form during digestion or in your organs when you're exposed to toxic compounds.
Decreased risk of heart attack:
BBC News reported on the benefits of drinking tea. Dr. Carrie Ruxton, a public health nutritionist, and her colleagues at Kings College London reviewed published studies on the health effects of tea consumption. They found compelling evidence that consuming three to four cups of tea per day can decrease your chances of having a heart attack.
Many people believe that tea is a diuretic that dehydrates the body more than it hydrates. This is only true if the cup of tea contains over 300 mg of caffeine per single serving, according to the Tea Advisory Panel. That would be almost impossible to do in one sitting.
Drink your Darjeeling tea and enjoy its thin-bodied, citrus flavor each day.
Reap the health benefits of tea while feeling refreshed and hydrated, because it does contribute to your daily fluid intake.
Sometimes it’s the simple pleasures in life that bring the greatest enjoyment.