India’s Best Teas - A Closer Look at Indian Teas at Tea-Direct
The people of India are the largest consumers of tea in the world, drinking more than 20 per cent of the world’s tea every year! What’s more, India is the second largest producer of tea, an impressive achievement given that, unlike in many other tea producing countries, tea plants are dormant over the winter period.
Large scale production of tea began in India in the early 1820s, and since then consumption in India, and around the world, has risen to huge numbers, making these teas favourites for tea lovers everywhere who value their delightful flavours and exquisite aromas.
Climate and Harvesting of Indian Teas
The climates of the Assam and Darjeeling regions are considered key in producing the delightful flavours and aromas of many Indian teas; a balance of conditions throughout the year come together perfectly during the one or two harvests each year, known as the ‘first flush’ and ‘second flush’.
The first flush tends to be the first of the season, occurring in early spring when there is some rainfall, but the air is still relatively dry from the winter. The second flush usually takes place in early summer, when the higher rainfall produces good quality teas.
While India produces a wide variety of black teas, white, green and oolong teas, there are three varieties that are always in demand: Darjeeling, Assam and Nilgiri.
Darjeeling – Harvested during both first flush or second flush periods, Darjeeling teas are produced in Darjeeling region of West Bengal, where high altitudes and a seasonal weather system create the famous “Darjeeling flavour” – light ‘champagne’ flavours that mean Darjeeling teas best are enjoyed without milk.
Assam – Assam teas are often harvested during the second flush period of May-June, in a region of high altitudes and misty mountains. The taste of Assam tea is strong, full-bodied and malty, with a deep-red liquor, making it great when prepared with milk and sugar.
Nilgiri – From the Nilgiri Mountains of south-west India, Nilgiri teas are grown in large areas of grassland, where high monsoon rainfall creates warm and moist conditions to produce teas that are strong and dark but smooth, fragrant and well rounded.
Produced in the warm, humid climates of West Bengal, where fresh, clean air imbues the leaves with delightfully floral aromas, Darjeeling Tea Leaf is an excellent, light tea that offers up delicate fruit flavours, which are characterised as Muscatel, in reference to the Muscat variety of grape.
A small-leaf, wonderfully fragrant black tea from the Quinshola garden, in the Nilgiri Hills of southern India, which reveals the characteristic, well-rounded flavours of a Nilgiri. Medium-bodied, with the strength of an Assam, Nilgiri BOP can be enjoyed all through the day.
This large leaf Darjeeling tea is made from leaves harvested during the second flush in the summer months and is known for its sweet, muscat-like fruitiness.