Darjeeling region is 181 square kilometers and is located in the state of West Bengal in north India. It sits at the edge of the Himalayas and has about 87 tea estates where some started in mid-1800s.
It produces one of the most famous teas in the world. Darjeeling tea has aromatic flavors due to cool temperatures and high altitudes where tea leaves grow. It is a protected tea due to its quality but also many producers from outside Darjeeling area sell counterfeit Darjeeling.
Var. sinensis (Chinese tea plant) is mostly used to grow this tea along with some Var. assamica (Assam tea plants) hybrids. the high elevation 3.280 – 6,890ft (1,000 – 2,100 m) influences the flavor of tea and leaves grow very slowly because they are pretty much always surrounded by mist.
There are three harvests periods for this tea:
Autumnal-Not always available depending upon the weather, they are typified by a round taste and coppery liquor. Excellent as a breakfast tea.
Main type produced in this region is Black Tea. There are also some production of Oolong, Green and white tea.
There are some main production areas:
East Darjeeling Valley or Golden Valley: cold winds from Himalayas, many plants here are pure china leaves or var. sinensis
Mirik Valley: Shares a border with Nepal and Himalayas visible from slopes. many renowned tea estates here like Thurbo, Seeyok and Margaret’s Hope.
West Darjeeling Valley: Some of the oldest tea gardens in West Bengal. Elevation 6,890 ft (2,100 m). The Happy Valley Estate (1854) is the oldest estate in Darjeeling.
Teesta Valley: Teesta river flows from the Himalayas into this valley. Samabeong, Teesta valley garden and Glenburn are some famous gardens here.