Tea FAQ (Part III)

Q: What are the Different Flavours associated with Darjeeling Tea?

A: The Flavours of Darjeeling Tea differs from Season to Season. According to the plucking period, the seasons can be categorised as under :-
Easter Flush ( March - April) : It arrives just after the dormant Winter months. The leaves are tender and very light green in appearance. The liquor too is light, clear, bright and imparts a pleasant brisk flavour.
Spring Flush ( May - June) : This flush is famed for its prominent quality. The leaf has a purplish bloom. The liquor is more round, mellow and with more colour (amber) and has a slightly fruity flavour. 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 the brightness and character that Darjeeling is known for.
Autumn Flush ( October - November) : The Tea during this period has a light coppery tinge and liquors have a delicate character.
Winter Months ( December - February) : Dormant period with no production.

Q: What is the importance of the Darjeeling Logo?

A: The Darjeeling Logo is a property of The Tea Board of India. It was launched in 1983. It is a symbol that verifies that the packet / caddy etc contains 100 % pure Darjeeling, unblended with teas from any other growth. There are certian procedures prescribed by the Tea Board of India to be complied with to get permission for the printing of the logo on a product.

Q: What should be checked before buying a packet of Darjeeling Tea?

A: The Packet must have a Darjeeling Tea Logo. "Darjeeling” or “Pure Darjeeling” or “100% Darjeeling” - must be mentioned.

Q:What makes tea so beneficial?

A: One quick note before we answer. In everday (everyday) language we mistakenly describe any hot infusion of fruits or herbs as "tea". In actuality tea is a beverage brewed from the leaves of a distinct plant, camellia sinensis, which has no botanical relation to fruits or herbs. To avoid confusion, the information that follows pertains only to true black and green tea.
Tea consists mainly of volatile oils, polyphenols (often incorrectly called tannins), caffeine, amino acids and trace vitamins and minerals. The polyphenols are responsible for most of tea's roles in promoting good health.
Volatile oils - these influence the aroma and scent of tea
Polyphenols - catechins, anti-oxidents known to help lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease, inhibit some cancers and assist in cell repair.
Caffeine - an alkaloid which stimulates the central nervous system, increases reaction time and the ability to concentrate.
Vitamins - several B-complex vitamins
Minerals -
  • flouride which acts to prevent caries and strengthen tooth enamel
  • potassium which stimulates enzyme production
  • manganese which regulates blood sugar levels
  • also calcium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, magnesium, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium and zinc
Amino Acids - seven of the eight essential human amino acids are present in tea: isoleucine,leucine, lysine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. Tea also contains its own unique amino acid, theanine. Theanine comprises one-half of all the amino acids that are found in tea. It is believed to play a role in the biosynthesis of polyphenols. All of these amino acids enhance the aroma of tea and theanine also enhances the tasteof tea

Q: How is black tea produced?

A: Once picked the fresh tea leaves go through five processes to become black tea.
  • Withering - to reduce the moisture content of the leaves they are spread out on racks and left to dry for several hours
  • Rolling - the withered leaves are rolled, crushed, and torn to release the enzymes held within the individual cells, catalyzing oxidation
  • Oxidation - the leaves turn from green to gold to coppery red
  • Drying - final drying turns the leaves dark brown or black
  • Sorting - leaves are sorted into sizes by passing them over various sized sieves. The largest leaves are orange pekoe, pekoe, and pekoe souchong. The smaller or broken leaves are broken orange pekoe, broken pekoe souchong, broken orange pekoe fannings, and dust.

Q: From where do the most well-known black teas come?

A: Assam tea district in northern India. Largest collection of tea growing areas in the world. Assam tea is generally strong, aromatic and dark coloured in the cup.
Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) - third largest tea producer in the world. Ceylon Teas have a fresh herbal taste, sweet fruity and flower like flavour and a golden red color in the cup.
Darjeeling - tea district in northeastern India on the southern slopes of the Himalaya, tea gardens up to altitudes of 3000 meters. Fine, medium, good and very good types. Many blossoms. Often rosy flavour .