One thing that many tea lovers have said, is they do not understand Darjeeling. This is because they are marked by different price ranges and varieties. Additionally, it comes with different leaf subtleties in both aroma and flavor. It is due to these different factors that it makes it difficult for any person who is quite unfamiliar with Darjeeling tea, to decide on which variety or aroma to choose. However, to remedy this, here is a simple beginner’s guide to choosing a Darjeeling.
Black Tea versus Darjeeling Tea
The first thing that one needs to do when beginning to choose a Darjeeling is not to establish your reference point as other black teas. Darjeeling are usually more aromatic and lighter compared to other black tea. However, it is much an oolong as other black tea. Many tea drinkers around the world have Ceylon, Assam, English breakfast or Keemum blends as the most familiar ones. This has made most tea lovers set the same expectations for the Darjeeling as they have for black tea. Owing to this, one should start with first getting to experience the unique styles the Darjeeling tea has and find out if they appeal to you. It is also important to experience the two main styles that are associated with a Darjeeling. These include spring harvest also known as the first flush and the second flush.
Another aspect of Darjeeling is that it is not a single tea. This is because no one can say there is a “best” Darjeeling. In fact, there over 80 estates. In order to appreciate the full array of the wide variety, one should make an effort of buying different samples regularly in order to try out. This helps you develop preferences that can be sized down to only a few varieties. Over 90 estates exist throughout the world. These estates are made up of three main harvests which are known as flushes, in-between and monsoon.
Quality and Pedigree Flags
The one thing most beginners have stated is that most blogs or articles that talk about a Darjeeling have left them learning less about it than they expected. Okay to remedy this let us try to summarize the different pedigree and quality flags. First, it is not easy to explain to anyone the different aromas and tastes that come with a Darjeeling. However, we can try and summarize this for you. The first one that we recommend you try is the flush. This is better known as either the “autumn flush” or the “2017 first flush”. It is important to check the year, if it is not mentioned then you may end up with a concoction of both harvests and blends that does not give the full taste. The “autumn flush” is regarded as the silent version of the second version.
The other flag is the Leaf’s grade, which does not necessarily mean that the quality has been measured. This flag is used to classify the tea for sale. It is important to note that there over 30 grades of Darjeeling with SFTGOP being the highest. The B grade relates to broken leaf which is a lower grade, meaning that a shorter grade has low quality. However once there is a lack of “OP” in the grade then it means that the “tea” you are holding is just part of swept up bits that make up a tea bag instead of the loose leaf tea that you ought to have.
One way to buy Darjeeling organic tea is through online tea and coffee shop. However, if you have been able to establish your tastes and preferences, you can go shopping to one of the exclusive top-end stores. The best quality tea are not found in supermarkets shelves because of the scale and economics of production involved in production of Darjeeling teas.
It is not wise for anyone to shop for a Darjeeling anywhere except online. This is because most of the Darjeeling available in supermarket are a mixture of Darjeeling broken grade leaf and machine-harvested Assam. Specialty store also do not provide quality Darjeeling but rather mask their low quality products with high prices in order to hoodwink unknowing beginners.
To get the best quality, one needs to shop online from unique stores in India, United States and German. Although UK has high end Darjeeling sellers, they charge a high price for the same quantity provided in other places in the world. This should be easy to do, because shipping has been made faster and more efficient.
The last bit is to enjoy your tea bags. Although this is a simple guide, it surely will open up your world to a lifetime of pleasure. It will also help you get the best quality at the best price.