An article on Darjeeling teas and variants. Read about various types of this wonderful hot beverage with muscatel flavor...
Having an exotic flavor, Darjeeling tea is one of the most expensive teas in the world. It is rated as a top tea and is preferred for its strong and unique flavor which is considered exclusive. Grown in the Darjeeling mountainous region the tea has a quality which is incomparable to tea grown in other hilly areas. Many tea growers have attempted to replicate the aroma and flavor of Darjeeling tea in other parts having a similar climate but haven’t succeeded. Tea growers attribute this to the unique soil, moisture, and other conditions of the Darjeeling region. The Darjeeling tea flavor is famously called ‘Muscatel’. There are different varieties in Darjeeling tea but the classic one is the black which the connoisseurs prefer to pick in specific seasons like the spring or summer.
Essentially the traditional tea produced in Darjeeling, the black variety is produced widely across Darjeeling.It is processed through various traditional stages of tea making like the withering, rolling, fermentation and sorting. How it differs from other variants in that its oxidized completely, and after being dried its taken through a process of being split up for complete oxidation. This gives it a dark hue and at this stage many plantations separate out the leaf for further processing to give flavors like fruit, nut, flower and spice.
The Darjeeling Oolong variant tastes like the traditional tea of China and can come in black or green variety. Grown from tea bushes that were grown from seeds of Chinese species brought in by the British, Oolong leaf of Darjeeling is rare but much sought after for its aromatic flavor. Of the spring and summer flush varieties the latter is preferred for its muscatel flavor. Compared to black leaf, Oolong leaf is semi oxidized. Apart from Chinese migrants, clonal varieties of Oolong are also grown.
As with the growing popularity of green tea, the Darjeeling green variety is in high demand. Its manufacturing is such that it goes through the drying and steaming processes but without fermentation so that natural ingredients of tea are retained. Colored light green, this variety is taken without milk and has to be brewed carefully to prevent bitterness.
A very delicately flavored tea this one and quite expensive too, white Darjeeling leaf is handpicked, sun dried and hand-rolled for its typical flavor. The tea has a distinct organic form with a pale golden color and natural sweetness but since its very light preparing it requires more leaf quantity.
The organically grown tea in Darjeeling is considered healthier and chemical free and usually harvested in tandem with lunar cycles for full maturity. With their sharp taste and lovely green texture, this organic tea has many fans amid tea drinkers.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Uday writes often on Darjeeling Tea Leaf grown in West Bengal. He also writes on organic tea leaf cultivated without chemicals. Uday writes often on hot beverages.
By: Uday Patel