Darjeeling Tea Garden | Darjeeling Tea Estates | Darjeeling Teas | Darjeeling Green Tea

Dr. Campbell, a civil surgeon of the Indian Medical Service, was transferred from Kathmandu to Darjeeling in 1839 as Superintendent of this new territory and of the Sanitarium. His first problem was to attract settlers. In 1841, Dr. Campbell brought China tea Seeds from Kumeon and planted near his residence in his garden at Beechwood, Darjeeling, 2000 m above sea level. He must have been successful in raising the plant because the government, in 1847, elected to put out tea nurseries in this area.

The experiment was followed by several others, for example Dr. Withcombe, Mr. James Grant, of the Civil Service, and Captain Samler. The plants, by their healthy and vigorous growth, gave much promise of the experiment succeeding. Dr. Hooker planted tea in 1848 at Lebong, a thousand feet below Darjeeling where also the tea plants succeeded admirably.

By 1852 several plantations in various stages of advancement, both of Assam and China plants were found including the ones at Kurseong and Pankhabari established by Mr. Martin.

Darjeeling Tea occupies a place of pride for the whole of India. The aroma and taste of Darjeeling orthodox tea is unparalleled in the world. There are a total of 78 tea estates in the hills which have been accorded the status for its produce, as Darjeeling Tea by the Tea Board of India. These estates cover over 17,500 hectares producing over 9 million kg of tea engaging about 50 percent people of the district.

The Darjeeling Tea industry is the mainstay of the economy up in the hills and provides a rewarding life to its workers by way of a steady livelihood and other facilities like housing, statutory benefits, allowances, incentives, creches for infants of working mothers, children's education, integrated residential medical facilities for employees and their families and many more.

In Darjeeling the first trial plantation of seed was planted at an altitude of 700 ft. by Dr. A Campbell and in 1845 an experimental nursery in Darjeeling was set up by the Government. In 1847 the Government planted a nursery at Lebong and the rest, as they say, is history.

Tea plantations in Darjeeling are restricted to Darjeeling and Kurseong sub-divisions only. Kalimpong sub-division was left out as it already had agricultural holdings and reserve forest.

Tea is grown at an altitude ranging from 600 to 2000 meters above mean sea level and requires a minimum of 50" to 60" of rainfall in a year and for this Darjeeling did not lack. The cool and moist climate, the soil, the rainfall and the slopping terrains all combine to give Darjeeling tea its unique "Muscatel flavour" and "Exquisite Banquet". The combination of natural factors give Darjeeling tea its unique distinction not found anywhere else in the world. Thus, it is the most sought after and highly valued. In the affluent Western and Japanese markets, 80% of the total produce is exported every year.

Darjeeling still manufactures the original methods of tea manufacture, known as the "Orthodox" tea manufacture, as against the "C.T.C." type of manufacture adopted in the plains, now.(C.T.C. stands for Curling, Tearing & Crushing). 'Organic tea' is a name given to tea grown using natural manure and ecologically sustainable practices. There is no use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in an organic tea garden. In recent times growing appreciation and demand for the organic products in the western countries have driven some tea gardens of Darjeeling to produce organic tea.

'Tea tourism' is the latest concept being popularized in India. The tourists are encouraged to stay in tea garden Bungalows with all amenities during which apart from enjoying serene atmosphere of tea garden they can also see the tea manufacturing process and the unique culture of tea garden. Nature walks, tea plucking session, trekking, rafting and golf is also on offer.

The Darjeeling logo is a hallmark of excellence. Launched in 1986, the Darjeeling logo has come to represent high quality muscatel flavored tea with the unmistakable class that only Darjeeling can offer. The logo is a significant landmark in the history of the tea industry. Conceptualized by the Association in Darjeeling and launched in the international and domestic market by the Tea Board, it guarantees genuine Darjeeling tea, tested, and packed for the connoisseurs of tea throughout the world. The Darjeeling tea industry is a happening place and has more surprises to unfurl. You can know more about of Darjeeling at http://darjeelinginformation1.blogspot.com/.

Darjeeling Tea Facts:

According to the census carried out in the hills in 1971, the total population of three hill sub-divisions Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong was approximately 600,000. From the records maintained by the tea gardens, the resident population is over 300,000.

Apart from tourism, Tea is the biggest industrial activity, offering the largest employment in the hills. The turnover of the Darjeeling tea industry is nearly 7.5 million USD, which is more than the money generated by tourism in the Darjeeling hills. Because of its location, Darjeeling was the hot-weather headquarters of the Bengal government under the British Raj and a popular vacation spot. It is famous today as the place of exile of the Dalai Lama.

Tourist Information in Darjeeling:

Darjeeling tea gardens are unlikely to be opened to tourists any time soon despite the best efforts of the West Bengal government and the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.

The lease contracts between the tea garden owners and the state government do not provide for any tourism-related activity in the gardens. Therefore, the garden owners want the contracts suitably changed before they can allow tourists in. They also want specific guidelines regarding revenue sharing with the local government. The tea planters also want guidelines regarding the procedure of collecting revenue from the tourists.

The contracts do neither allow the garden owners to make new constructions within the prescribed area nor use a section of it for purposes not mentioned in the contract.

Leisure walk through Tea Gardens:

Tourists can venture into the tea gardens, experiencing the busy life of the estate workers there. You may find thousands of workers plucking the tea leaves in the fields. You can witness them carrying large buckets on their back and working hard all through the day. Their are many families in Darjeling, who are totally engaged in this profession for generations. It is one such place where you can witness the making and manufacturing of tea directly.

Village Visit:

Than you make a nearby village visit to know about the lifestyle of the people in the mountains. You may enchant with the people there, who have deep belief in their culture and religion. The village offers the visitors the rare and unique experience.

Teesta Tea Festival:

You can be part of the popular Teesta Tea Festival, which is held in the month of November/ December in Darjeeling and Sikkim every year. The main attractions of the festival are the colourful cultural festivals that are held in the lush greenery of tea gardens, rolling hills and spectacular forests.

The Tea of Darjeeling:

The fine quality and flavour of Darjeeling tea has resulted in it having a worldwide reputation for excellence. The tea is grown at an elevation of 750 - 2000 metre in century old Tea Gardens. It can take up to ten years before the leaves are ready to be plucked. The tea bushes are nurtured by intermittent rainfall, sunshine and moisture laden mellow mists. The soil is rich and the hilly terrain provides natural drainage for the generous rainfall the district receives.

The high quality results in extremely low yields, only some 10 million kilos of tea a year. The taste of Darjeeling varies with the seasons. The first growth after the Winter dormant period (the First Flush) producing astringent flavoury teas much prized by some buyers, particularly in Germany. However, some people thinks that the finest tea produced each year comes from the second growth (Second Flush) which produces a more mature and lasting flavour. The tea has a full taste with a hint of muscat.

There are only 86 Tea Estates which produce Darjeeling Tea on a total area of 19,000 hectares and the tea from Darjeeling makes up for 3 per cent of India's total production. The Darjeeling tea industry at present employs over 52 thousand people on a permanent basis, while a further 15,000 persons are engaged during the plucking season which lasts from March to November. More than 60 percent are women and the employment is on a family basis.

The income of a garden worker is half in the form of cash and the other half by way of perquisites. For example, the workers are provided with free accommodation, subsidised cereal ration and free medical benefits. Gardens used to run primary schools which have since been taken over by the government but the buildings continue to be maintained by the garden management.

Fake Darjeeling Tea:

Almost 40 million kg is sold as "Darjeeling Tea" when the actual production capacity is just 10 million. Most of this teas comes from Sri Lanka and Kenya and in an effort to stop this market a logotype is developed. Some of the fake tea is called Lanka Darjeeling or Hamburg Darjeeling but most of the time it's called Pure Darjeeling.

Japan, a largely orthodox-tea growing area, has already discovered the chemical constituents present in the Darjeeling variety, but industry watchers say that this will not enable them to grow the true Darjeeling variety.

According to the Tea Board Of India, "Darjeeling Tea" means: "tea which has been cultivated, grown, produced, manufactured and processed in tea gardens (current schedule whereof is attached hereto) in the hilly areas of Sadar Sub-Division, only hilly areas of Kalimpong Sub-Division comprising of Samabeong Tea Estate, Ambiok Tea Estate, Mission Hill Tea Estate and Kumai Tea Estate and Kurseong Sub-Division excluding the areas in jurisdiction list 20,21,23,24,29,31 and 33 comprising Subtiguri Sub-Division of New Chumta Tea Estate, Simulbari and Marionbari Tea Estate of Kurseong Police Station in Kurseong Sub-Division of the District of Darjeeling in the State of West Bengal, India. Tea which has been processed and manufactured in a factory located in the aforesaid area, which, when brewed, has a distinctive, naturally occurring aroma and taste with light tea liquour and the infused leaf of which has a distinctive fragrance."

Darjeeling Tea Grading:

Tea in Darjeeling is mostly produced with an orthodox method that keeps the leaves hole during the production. When the tea is sold it is classified by size and quality. This is made by Darjeeling Tea Growers Association.

Orthodox Tea, Whole Leaf

Flowery Orange Pekoe
FOP indicates that the tea contains the second and the third leaves of the pluck, the orange pekoe and the pekoe leaves.

Golden Orange Pekoe
Early in the growing season the young tips have a golden color. Teas produced at this time are referred to as Golden.

Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
When the proportion of golden tips is relatively high, this is indicated with "Tippy".

Fine Tippy Golden Orange Pekoe
FTG indicates that the tea contains many tips.

Super Fine Tippy Golden Orange Pekoe
The lighter colored liquors are given the "S" designation by the Darjeeling Tea Growers Association.

Orthodox Tea, Broken Leaf

Broken Orange Pekoe One

Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe

Broken Pekoe Souchong

Golden Broken Orange Pekoe

Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe

Broken Orange Pekoe

Orthodox Tea, Fannings

Tippy Golden Orange Fannings

Golden Orange Fannings

Orange Fannings

Green Tea, Whole Leaf

Young Hyson

Fine Young Hyson

Green Tea, Broken Leaf

Gun Powder


Fine Hyson

Green Tea, Fannings


Green tea, Dust


Darjeeling Tea Plucking Season:

The Flavours of Darjeeling Tea differs from Season to Season. According to the plucking period, the seasons can be categorized as follows:

Easter Flush (First flush)
Late February  to Mid April
These are springtime teas. The young leaves yield a light green tea with a liquor that is light, clear, bright and imparts a pleasant brisk flavour. Their arrival is impatiently awaited by connoisseurs, and they are sometimes specially   airlifted to the buyers around the world.

Spring Flush  (Second flush)
May - June
This flush is famed for its prominent quality. The leaf has a purplish bloom. The liquor is bright, the taste full and round with a fruity note. It is during this period that the famous "Muscatel" flavour becomes pronounced.

Summer Flush
July - September
During this period the nature of the liquor changes, becoming stronger, yet retaining brightness and character. The teas picked during the rainy season are thought to hold too much water.

Autumn Flush ("autumnal teas")
October - November
These autumn-harvested Darjeelings are characterised by large leaves that give a round taste and coppery liqour.

Varieties of Darjeeling Tea:

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.

1st Flush is harvested in mid-March following spring rains, and has a gentle, very light color, aroma, and mild astringency.

In Between is harvested between the two "flush" periods.

2nd Flush is harvested in June and produces an amber, full bodied, muscatel-flavored cup.
Monsoon or Rains tea is harvested in the monsoon (or rainy season) between 2nd Flush and Autumnal, is less withered, consequently more oxidized, and usually sold at lower prices. It is rarely exported, and often used in Masala chai.

Autumnal Flush is harvested in the autumn after the rainy season, and has somewhat less delicate flavour and less spicy tones, but fuller body and darker colour.

Grades of Darjeeling Tea:

When Darjeeling teas are sold, they are graded by size and quality. The grades fall into four basic groups: whole leaf, broken leaf, fannings, and dust.

Whole Leaf.

SFTGFOP: Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe indicates that it contains many tips and are long and wiry in appearance. The liquors are lighter in color.

FTGFOP: Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe.

TGFOP: Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe

Broken Leaf consists of small tea leaves or pieces of large leaves.

FTGBOP: Fine Tippy Golden Broken Orange Pekoe.

TGBOP: Tippy Golden Broken Orange Pekoe.

FBOP: Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe.

BOP: Broken Orange Pekoe.

Fannings consists of even smaller leaf size than the brokens.

GFOF: Golden Flowery Orange Fannings.

GOF: Golden Orange Fannings.

Dust represents the lowest grade in classification, consists of small pieces of tea leaves and tea dust.

D: Dust

Tea Estates of Darjeeling:

There are many tea estates (also called "tea gardens") in Darjeeling, each producing teas with different character in taste and aroma. Some of the popular estates include Arya, Chamong, Glenburn, Lingia, Castleton, Jungpana, Makaibari, Margaret's Hope, and Risheehat. Below is a non-exhaustive list:

• Ambootia

• Arya

• Avongrove

• Badamtam

• Balasun

• Bannockburn

• Barnesbeg

• Castleton

• Chamong

• Chongtong

• D'alrus

• Gielle

• Giddapahar

• Ging

• Glenburn

• Goomtee

• Gopaldhara

• Glenburn

• Happy Valley

• Hilton

• Jogmaya

• Jungpana

• Kaley Valley

• Kanchan View

• Lingia

• Longview

• Makaibari

• Margaret's Hope

• Mim

• Moondakotee

• Mission Hill

• Nagri

• Namring

• Orange Valley

• Puttabong

• Peshoke

• Phoobsering

• Phuguri

• Poobong

• Potong

• Princeton

• Pussimbing

• Ringtong

• Risheehat

• Rohini

• Runglee Rungliot

• Samabeong

• Seeyok

• Selimbong

• Singbulli

• Singell

• Singla Tea Estate

• Soom

• Soureni

• Snowview

• Steinthal

• Sungma

• Takdah

• Teesta Valley

• Thurbo

• Tindharia

• Tongsong Dtriah

• Tumsong

• Upper Fagu

• Vah Tukvar

View images of Darjeeling Tea Estate:

Different types of Darjeeling Tea:

Black Tea:

Black tea accounts for over 90% of the tea consumption in the western world. During the production process of black tea the leaves are changed substantially, allowing the characteristic flavors of black tea – ranging from flowery to fruity, nutty and spicy – to emerge.

Oolong Tea:

Also known as partially or semi-fermented tea, the oolongs have some of the qualities of both black and green tea. At their best, oolongs are beautiful, full-bodied tea with a fragrant flavor and fruity, sweet aroma.

Green Tea:

Green tea, for centuries the beverage of choice in Asia, is rapidly gaining popularity in the western world. Its natural aroma and widely acclaimed health benefits make green tea appealing to both the tea lover and previously non-tea drinker.When preparing green tea, it is important to use water below the boiling point and to carefully watch the infusion time to avoid bitterness.

White Tea:

White tea are the most delicate of all tea; the finest varieties are appreciated by tea connoisseurs for their unmatched subtlety, complexity and natural sweetness. The production of the most delicate white tea consists of only two steps: Steaming and drying. The absence of withering, rolling and oxidation leaves the appearance of the leaves essentially unaltered.

Blended, Flavored & Scented Tea:

Blended Tea: Earl Greys, Breakfast & Afternoon Blends, Russian Caravan Tea and Lapsang Souchons.

Flavored Tea: Flavored Black Tea, Flavored Oolong Tea, Flavored Green Tea.

Scented Tea: Jasmine, Litchee and Rose Tea.

Seasonal Blends: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter & Holiday Blends.

Darjeeling Tea Recipes:

It is amazing how versatile you can be with Darjeeling Tea. You can ice it, spice it, cream it, punch it, even eat it. You can win friends with it and lose weight with it. But always, you drink your health with it.

Below are a selection of suggestions. Try a few with pure Indian Darjeeling Tea.

Remember, Darjeeling is the exotic one, the 'champagne' of teas.

Hot Darjeeling Tea Recipe:

Take fresh water from the cold tap and boil.

Warm teapot by rinsing out with hot water.

Put one teaspoonful of tea leaf for each cup into teapot.

Pour boiling water into it. Cover and wait for three minutes.

Pour liquid tea from the teapot into cup through a strainer.

Add milk / sugar to taste.

Darjeeling Iced Tea Recipe:

Take fresh water from the cold tap and boil.

Put two teaspoonsful of tea into teapot for each person to get strong brew.

Pour in boiling water. Cover teapot and wait for at least five minutes.

Fill three-fourths of a large glass tumbler with ice cubes. Pour tea from the teapot. Add sugar syrup and sliced lemon to taste, but no milk. You can add a sprig of mint.

Cool for a few minutes and imbibe straight or through a straw.

Darjeeling Lemon Tea Recipe:

A tempter at all times ! Into a piping hot cup of tea, add a few drops of lemon (not milk) and sugar to taste, stir, and sip in the goodness of tea with the richness of lemon.

Darjeeling Hot Spiced Afternoon Tea Recipe:

4 pints water

1/2 level tsp. whole cloves

1/2 a stick of cinnamon

1 oz. tea

4 oz. sugar

1/4 pint Orange Juice Or squash

Juice of 2 lemons

Cinnamon sticks to serve

Add the spices to the water and bring to the boil. Pour onto the tea and allow to brew for 5 minutes. Stir, strain onto the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the fruit juices. To reheat before serving (if necessary) place over a low heat-do not simmer or boil. Serve with cinnamon sticks.

Sufficient for 12 people.

Darjeeling Tea Fruit Cup Recipe:

4 oz. sugar

2 pints water

1/4 pint strong fresh tea, strained

1/4 pint Fruit Syrup (e.g. rose hip)

1/4 pint orange squash

1/4 pint lemon squash

1/4 pint pineapple Squash

1 small bottle lemonade

12 fresh or canned cherries

2 bananas, sliced Ice

Boil the sugar and 1/4 pint water together for 5 minutes. Add the cooled tea, the rest of the water, the fruit syrup and fruit squashes. Chill and when ready to serve add the other ingredients and the ice.

Sufficient for 12 people.

Darjeeling Tea Punch Recipe:

1/2 pint strong tea

6 oz. sugar

1/2 pint orange squash

4 tbsps. lemon juice

2 small bottles ginger ale

1 large bottle lemonade

1 orange, sliced

Put the hot tea in a bowl, add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the orange squash and lemon juice and strain. Chill. Just before serving mix in the ginger ale, lemonade and orange slices.

Sufficient for 12 people.

Darjeeling Tea Ice Cream Recipe:

(for making 2 lbs. of tea ice cream)

(a) Dry tea (with good flavour) 2 oz

(b) Refined sugar 1 lb

(c) Arrowroot or cornflour 1 oz

(d) Fresh milk 2 lbs

(e) Water 10 oz

- Heat water and remove quickly from fire when boiling. Rinse out teapot with hot water and put in tea leaves. Pour boiling water into teapot. Infuse for 8 to10 minutes. Strain off infusion and keep aside.

- Boil milk. Next, blend sugar with arrowroot (or cornflour) thoroughly and add lo boiled milk. Let mixture simmer for about10 minutes stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Remove from fire, add tea infusion, stir and freeze.

Darjeeling Tea Jelly Recipe:

2 lemons

1 pkt. lemon jelly

3/4 pint (approx.) freshly brewed tea,

Whipped cream to decorate

Grate the skins of the lemons finely. Place the jelly in a measure and make up to 1 pint with freshly brewed tea. Stir until dissolved, then cool. When it is slightly thickened stir in the grated lemon peel and pour into a wetted 1-pint mould or into individual moulds. Decorate with cream.

Related Video of Darjeeling Tea:

Darjeeling Tea Garden

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Darjeeling tea estate

Tea Plantation, Darjeeling

Darjeeling Tea

Kanchan View Tea Garden Darjeeling West Bengal

Orange Valley Darjeeling West Bengal

Darjeeling First Flush

News about Darjeeling Tea:

Majority of Darjeeling tea to go organic

View more images of Darjeeling Tea Garden and more:

You can know more about of Darjeeling at http://darjeelinginformation1.blogspot.com/.

Darjeeling Tea Garden, Darjeeling Tea Estates, Darjeeling Teas, Darjeeling Green Tea and more


  1. Great post. I always love Darjeeling Tea. I now know a little history about it.

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