AN ELGIN EXCLUSIVE FEATURE
An affair- Tea, a strong committed affair when you cannot consider stepping back, as you gaze into the aromatic, woody, refreshing cuppa caffeine beside the rusty steamy whistling kettle. This simple cup of, aromatic, full of flavors would bound you to wait long for that luxurious evening event- embracing the scenic view of snow- capped mountains.
With 87 tea estates, Darjeeling surrounds itself with the majestic Himalayas all around.
High in the foothills of the Himalaya, at the northern tip of the Indian state of West Bengal, between Bhutan and Nepal, they say the search for the best cup of tea in the world would end here. The relationship of tea in India remains unexplainable; you enter any house, the first thing offered is the cup of tea. The three Cs can never be overpersuading- Connections, conversations and a cup of tea.
Darjeeling being the major producer of tea serves a demand of roughly 10 million, but thousands of tonnes are stamped with the “Darjeeling” mark globally. A coalition has been founded to preserve the trademark by establishing rigorous guidelines and growing zones where the tea must be grown if the pedigreed label is to be used.
Darjeeling tea has an intricate and complex flavor profile loaded with aromatic compounds with a strong and pleasant aroma. The color of the tea is usually a golden shade of yellow, amber, orange, or brown.
Darjeeling is a tea connoisseur’s utopia, with four main harvests each year providing extremely heterogeneous grades of leaves that may be modified during processing into black, white, green, or oolong teas. “You must try the autumn flush; it is a strong tea, a complete tea, my favorite.” a strong recommendation from a native-Ratan Lepcha, owner of a tea stall where his family has been selling tea for 80 years.
Little else in Darjeeling is so tainted with sentiment, yet the tea trade is greater than ever. While the town boasts virtually limitless opportunities to sample every kind of the local brew, to get a profound sense of Darjeeling tea, head to the hills, to the tea plantations.
Fact- In one shift of 8 hours, 28 tea – pluckers can pluck 1260 kg of green leaves.
Every one of the 87 licensed tea plantations here’s a variation on a theme: undulating hills covered in millions of low, well-kept tea plants. Women with head scarves or wide-brimmed hats prowl the fields, picking two leaves and a bud by hand and flinging them over their shoulders into wicker baskets on their backs. Every day, each will gather thousands of leaves throughout a 12-hour shift. “Not all tea estates are created equal; quality and quantity are not synonymous,” Banerjee asserts. “Darjeeling tea is a craft, not industry.” The cup reflects the personality of each estate. You can taste it.” Banerjee was the first tea planter in Darjeeling to go organic with his product. Banerjee is a Shakespeare-quoting fanatic, ardent about life’s karmic balance sheet. He rambles at length about the spirit of Makaibari, the tranquility and opportunity for reflection his tea offers, and his desire to bring it to the wider world, thus walking into a new era of peace for humanity. It’s a lot to expect from a cup of tea, but Banerjee’s charm is palpable, and his enthusiasm contagious.
A cup of Darjeeling tea with a mesmerizing view of majestic Khangchendzonga would compel you to visit the place just to sip on another cup.
A fine morning, picture, a four- poster bed propped by plush pillows and steamy cup transpires. What’s in the cup- a potent second flush-from the season’s second, June, harvest – plucked from some of the trees around the bedroom. The rich golden infusion, a woodsy robustness and a lengthy finish, just the right combination of astringency and smoothness. The blinds thrown wide. The slipping night’s grip. As the darkness scatters wide, the ridgeline of the famed mountain range unfolds. You slip out of bed and head to the window, cup in hand. As the light gathers confidence, Kanchenjunga rises above the rest, and permits you to allure the white- glistening of the world’s highest mountain range.
If the imagination doesn’t allure you enough, picking up some of the authentic tea could always be a recourse. The tea, distinguished by its subtleties of difference, which range from delicate vegetal, mossy, fruity, and citrus flavors to its coveted muscatel, which has -sweet taste notes comparable to Muscat wine. Rather than just tasting those [admittedly fascinating] flavors in isolation, you’ll get a sense of how they bloomed from the region’s growing conditions.