Darjeeling Leaf Colors

I’ve never been a big Darjeeling tea drinker but recently I’ve bought a few to mix, as part of trying to make myself a tasty and interesting black breakfast tea blend.

Anyway, I’ve noticed while looking at the leaves that many of the Darjeelings seem to be a mix of different color leaves, including, which surprised me, green leaves. The green is even more pronounced after brewing.

I expected a mixture of lighter brown and orange leaves, amidst the black, knowing that tippy, flowery and orange are designations of quality in Darjeeling. But I’m surprised to see so much green. Far more than in lightly oxidized Taiwanese or Chinese Oolongs which while they might have brown and green leaf portions of (larger) leaf, are generally more uniform in color. There’s far more variation in color from darker to lighter brown and green in these teas

For you Darjeeling afficianados, what is the reason or cause of all the green leaves? Are darjeelings already mixtures, are some leaves deliberately allowed to wither or oxidize less than others?

Note, I’m not talking about so called Oolong Darjeelings, but traditional estate Darjeeling.

5 Replies
moraiwe said

What flush Darjeeling is it? That makes a pretty substantial difference in ‘greenness’.

moraiwe said

In any case, here’s a brief (and probably incomplete) rundown regardless.

Because of the withering process used on Darjeeling leaves, they are never fully oxidized (and are technically closer to an oolong than a black tea) and have varying degrees of greenness in the leaves as a result.

First flush leaves (typically harvested around March) are substantially greener than either the second or fall flushes. There are also white variants of first flush teas. These typically brew up looking like a green and are more delicate than the later flushes.

Second flush is harvested in June and has a fuller body and typically a musctatel type flavor. You will find more brown/orange leaves, but there will definitely still be green leaves here.

Autumn flush and Monsoon flush are as close to a black tea as you’ll get with a Darjeeling. They are withered less and therefore oxidized more. They are less delicate and more robust than the previous two.

Hope this helps.

(TL;DR it’s the withering process and flush)

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Excelsior said

Within the Darjeeling line up of teas, I always notice a wide differentiation on flavor and color of the leaves depending on the estate. As a basic rule, you will find more green colored leaves in a Spring Flush Darjeeling Tea as opposed to Summer and Autumn Flush

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sandra said

my ff 2013 (DJ1/monteviot) was green, geen and nothing but green leaf with white silver buds. yummie!

moraiwe explained it all :)

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Guess I was not the only person to notice the color variation in even a single cup of the same flush of tea


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