Origin: Darjeeling, India
Plucking Season: Late Spring
Introduction: Grown in one of the oldest tea gardens of Darjeeling, a famous tea producing region of India.
White teas are made from the newly sprouted buds with a silvery white down that provides a honey texture to the brew. In making white tea, the buds are heat braised in covered pans or dried in direct sun. As such, there is little or no oxidation of the buds. White teas are also high in antioxidants.
Located in the Northeastern Himalayas, Darjeeling is an area regarded to produce the “Champagne of teas.” It is one of the four main tea growing regions in India and the highest in elevation at 6000 feet. The area comprises approximately 86 tea estates covering three districts (Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong), with almost 30 percent now offering certified organic teas. The Darjeeling tea industry at present employs over 52 thousand people during the plucking season which lasts from March to November.
Darjeeling is a plant lover’s paradise: Four thousand species of flowering plants, three hundred varieties of ferns, including tree fern and many types of mosses, conifers, spruces, birches and of course, the prized orchids.
Making White Darjeelings
In 2000 we initiated a project in Darjeeling to make white teas. We believe it was one of the first such projects for the Indian tea industry and included identifying appropriate tea plant varietals growing across the various tea gardens in Darjeeling. In general the tea plant varietals can be categorized into the Assam Jaat, China Jaat and Clonals. Secondly, we focused on quality processing. In most of Darjeeling’s tea estates processing was being conducted in a very similar manner. After withering, the leaf has traditionally been passed through mechanical rollers to bruise and start oxidization (a process that makes the leaf darker). As such the leaves get broken, and the flavor profile filled with complexity. We defined a new process, cross-pollinating white tea making skills of China to make Queen Darjeeling. It would be an ‘apples to oranges’ comparison of White Darjeelings to that of Fujian Chinese whites. Both have their own flavor profiles and distinct, enjoyable qualities.
We have a very small quantity available of this batch.
Flavor Profile: Light, floral quality with a white grape flavor. Very smooth brew.