Widely known as ‘the champagne of teas’, Darjeeling is a brew to truly be celebrated. Whether you’re well acquainted with superior teas or new to the party, our Art of Tea Darjeeling offers a depth and complexity of flavour usually only found in fine wines. Named after the picturesque northeast Indian region where it’s grown, Darjeeling is cherished the world over for its distinctive ‘muscatel’ character. Brew a cup and feel entranced by the beautiful contrasts of its gentle floral quality and zesty fruit flavours, cut-grass crispness and smoky, woody back notes. The sweetness of white grapes and citrus lingers long after each cup, creating a comforting, calming infusion. This is a tea assured to evoke a curiosity and appreciation in even the most seasoned tea drinker.
Darjeeling tea’s unmistakable character is a gift from nature. The region lies in the verdant foothills of the Himalayan mountains in West Bengal, where its tea gardens enjoy a unique set of conditions, from high altitudes and fresh mountain air to plenty of sunshine. These all contribute to the ideal tea-growing environment, the bushes irrigated with heavy rainfall and natural drainage provided by the mountainous terrain. Like other famous teas, Darjeeling is harvested in ‘flushes’, with each season’s harvest offering different character. For this blend we only use leaves harvested during the prized first flush, the leaves skilfully handpicked between late February and mid-April. At this time the post-winter growth spurt captures the crisp Himalayan mountain air and imbues the tea with a fresh and delicate sweetness.
Once the tea leaves have been picked, they begin the time-honoured manufacturing process that has been practiced in Darjeeling tea factories since the 17th century. To begin, the Tea Master must remove just enough moisture from every leaf. This is known as the withering stage and is a task that requires precise attention to detail – too little and the leaves won’t withstand rolling, too much and the delicate flavours will be lost. The process takes up to 16 hours and is only done when the Tea Master decides the time is right. The leaves now undergo the all-important stages of rolling, drying and grading. Pressure makes the leaves roll into tight curls, causing them to release their natural juices and begin the crucial oxidisation. It’s at this stage the leaves begin the colour transition from bright green to coppery brown. Firing or ‘fixing’ the leaves locks in the flavours and aromas, only to be released again when brewed.
Our Art of Tea Darjeeling is SFTGFOP1 graded. This means ‘Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe’ and refers to the whole leaf and ‘tippy’ nature of the blend. The grading highlights minimal processing, as it contains no dust, fannings or ‘broken’ leaves commonly found in many teas. This Darjeeling steeps into a bright, golden liquor with an uplifting perfume of spring flowers and fresh citrus. The uniqueness of Darjeeling is part of its charm. It’s considerably more robust than green tea and more elegant and complex than many other black teas. Our Tea Masters select this tea for its well-defined character and rounded flavour. No milk or sugar is required to enjoy this tea, just let the quality of the Darjeeling terroir and the art of the tea master shine.
The Art of Tea range brings home some of the best teas from around the world, delivering both excellence and elegance to true tea lovers. Across this range we celebrate the art of the Tea Master: the unsung artisans who handcraft quality tea leaves into truly memorable brews. Luxurious on both sides of the tin, the Art of Tea range satisfies those with a taste for tea of character and quality. The exquisite aromas and flavours of these brews come solely from the best natural ingredients, crafted for excellence. We don’t add any flavourings or preservatives, letting the natural finesse of the ingredients and their origin shine through. You’ll see all whole leaves and tips in each blend, picked at their peak to deliver truly memorable brews.
Our luxurious Art of Tea Darjeeling caddies are limited edition, so there’s only so much of this tea to go around. You’ll find 100 grams (g) of tea inside the pretty metal tea caddy, foil-sealed so it reaches you full of fresh sweet Darjeeling flavour. Steep the tea with boiling water until you have a rich, honey-coloured infusion. Drink this tea after breakfast to ease you through the morning, or sip in the afternoon for some extra special refreshment. Give yourself a tea break upgrade while you have the chance or gift to a loved one to enjoy instead. The pretty caddy is a fitting vessel for the fine blend within and makes a luxurious addition to any kitchen. Don’t delay though, we only have limited quantities of this fine Darjeeling, and when it’s gone, it’s gone.
Origin*: Darjeeling*Please note, subject to change due to seasonal variations.
Each and every morning, my favourite cup of tea would be English Breakfast. It’s strong, it’s coloury, it’s got a wonderful nutty flavour that I really do enjoy, and it takes the milk well.William Manning, Senior Tea Taster
In the UK Head Office we taste over 500 cups of tea every day, to search for the best quality teas available from around the world.Dominic Marriot, Tea Taster
Later on in the afternoon I might try something like a Darjeeling that has the muscatel flavour, or maybe even a high-grown Ceylon, but definitely my favourite brew, and the one that I drink the most of, is English Breakfast.William Manning , Senior Tea Taster