Darjeeling Questions


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Darjeeling Questions

Postby umijoshi » Mar 21st, '14, 02:14

It seems like the majority of Darjeeling's estates are owned by groups/corporations that own multiple proporties. Some of the bigger ones like the Chamong Group or the Ambootia Group own close to, or over 1/8th of Darjeelings 80+ gardens.

'Single Estate' tea is seemingly more common in Darjeeling than in most other places in the world, but since blended teas are also common, are there specific gardens that would usually blend with others as opposed to sell off their product as a single estate?

I'm not sure the system in India, but in Japan for example, farmers sell off their 'freshly processed leaves' to buyers who will then sort it, grade it, blend it, etc, and then sell it to retail, and finally from retail to the customer. I'd imagine the estates in India sell their tea off in auctions, whoever buys it blends it or sells it as the single estate?

There's a garden named Jungpana that seems to escape the spotlight in every book I have, yet it seems to have won numerous awards. Hidden treasure or have I just been oblivious?

If you went into a store to buy tea, and saw the label "Darjeeling Second Flush" what assumptions would you make based off of that?
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Re: Darjeeling Questions

Postby Tead Off » Mar 21st, '14, 04:17

Jungpana can be very good tea. There are different grading systems. They wouldn't normally blend high grades with others. This is the premium stuff. In the sorting and processing, many broken leaves of various sizes. These will sell for less money but can still be labeled by the garden's name.

There is a lot more Darjeeling tea being sold than grown. This means 'monkey business'. In the lowlands, there are big tea plantations growing tea that is labeled Darjeeling. This is not real Darjeeling tea. It's a good practice to stick with reliable sellers and known tea gardens.

I am told that much of the harvest is pre-sold to various companies, mostly outside of India. Some teas cannot be bought in India.

A tea labeled 'Darjeeling Second Flush' could mean anything. It doesn't tell you the garden, the grade, or the year. You need more information. All it says that it was picked during the second flush.

China, Taiwan, and Korea all have single estate teas. They are usually premium teas and often handmade.

Darjeeling is by far, my favorite black tea, in a class by itself, I think. This includes Nepali teas. They have a freshness and taste that is unique.
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Re: Darjeeling Questions

Postby umijoshi » Mar 21st, '14, 16:18

Tead Off wrote:There are different grading systems. They wouldn't normally blend high grades with others. In the sorting and processing, many broken leaves of various sizes. These will sell for less money but can still be labeled by the garden's name.


The grading system is only about the leaf size though, isn't it? I'm sure fame has something to do with whether the garden is blended or not, I don't imagine you would see Margaret's hope blended with other gardens.
Who blends it anyway? The tea estate or the person who buys it from the Auctions? If the latter, if he bought Darjeeling and blended it with Sikkim or Dooars, is there any rule that past a certain ratio he can't call it Darjeeling anymore?

There is a lot more Darjeeling tea being sold than grown. This means 'monkey business'. In the lowlands, there are big tea plantations growing tea that is labeled Darjeeling. This is not real Darjeeling tea. It's a good practice to stick with reliable sellers and known tea gardens.


Known tea gardens, I have a couple lists with 80+ gardens on each, I assume you're referring to those? Also, since the area is 7 valleys, when you refer to the lowlands where are you referring to? Outside of these valleys?

Ref: http://camellia-sinensis.com/carnet/?pa ... 12&lang=en

China, Taiwan, and Korea all have single estate teas. They are usually premium teas and often handmade.


I think Lopchu is a/the Japanese one, which are the Korean/Chinese?
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Re: Darjeeling Questions

Postby Tead Off » Mar 22nd, '14, 01:31

You can look up the Darjeeling grading system and various names tagged to the qualities, etc. Do a google.

Gardens don't blend their teas, to my knowledge. What they might do is mix in lower grades with higher ones to 'weight' the purchase. There are stories of this happening but I have no solid info. I am also unfamiliar with the auction system and whether any of the better gardens sell through this. There is a shortage of Darjeeling tea so I wouldn't imagine auction would be necessary for many who have contracts with Japanese, Euro, & USA sellers.

The lowlands are the plains that border the hills that go up to Darjeeling. Siliguri, Bagdogra, etc., have large plantations of tea that some call Darjeeling, but you need the Darjeeling logo and terroir to be called Darjeeling. There is a big difference in quality between these two areas. All sorts of 'monkey business' can go on in this gray area.
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Re: Darjeeling Questions

Postby yshuto » Mar 27th, '14, 21:02

Tead Off, this question in late since 2014 SF Darjeelings are now appearing at retailers but what did you think of the 2013 SF Darjeelings? I tried Jungpana, Moondakotee, Chamling, Happy Valley, Bloomfield, Margaret's Hope, Namring, Namring Upper, Castleton, Sivitar, Ambootia, Risheehat, Turzum, Arya, and to my surprise ALL of them failed to impress me. I went back and forthwith Mariage Freres on this and they claim it was due to the lack of rain in the Darjeeling region.

Do you have any information on the rainfall for this year? Planning on making purchases in April-May and wanted to know about any insights you may have.

To answer the other question
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However, the grading does not necessarily coincide with the quality or taste of the tea.
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Re: Darjeeling Questions

Postby Tead Off » Mar 27th, '14, 23:15

Yshuto, I have not made any purchases of 2013 Darjeelings. Two reasons I had was first, I still have a lot of tea from prior years that I need to get through. Some very top teas. Secondly, I was given a lot of Eastern Nepali teas which has kept me busy.

My Yancha and Puerh uptake has increased a lot, too. :lol:
Judging by your post, it looks like I didn't miss much.
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Re: Darjeeling Questions

Postby yshuto » Mar 28th, '14, 02:22

I've been drinking lots of High Mtn Taiwanese Oolongs from TFT, Origin, and TTC. The DYL from TTC was excellent and have picked them as my primary source for Oolongteas. So starting from late April I'll
Be ordering the whole array of Darjeelings.

How are the teas from Nepal?
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Re: Darjeeling Questions

Postby Tead Off » Mar 28th, '14, 07:38

yshuto wrote:I've been drinking lots of High Mtn Taiwanese Oolongs from TFT, Origin, and TTC. The DYL from TTC was excellent and have picked them as my primary source for Oolongteas. So starting from late April I'll
Be ordering the whole array of Darjeelings.

How are the teas from Nepal?

All good vendors.

The Jun Chiyabari teas are #1, I think. Located in Dhankuta, Eastern Nepal. Mariage Freres should carry their teas. Last year's Himalayan Orange, Second Flush was superb.
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Re: Darjeeling Questions

Postby wolfrb » Apr 1st, '14, 09:14

yshuto wrote:I've been drinking lots of High Mtn Taiwanese Oolongs from TFT, Origin, and TTC. The DYL from TTC was excellent and have picked them as my primary source for Oolongteas. So starting from late April I'll
Be ordering the whole array of Darjeelings.

How are the teas from Nepal?



What is TFT and TTC?
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Postby bonescwa » Apr 1st, '14, 10:06

Tea from taiwan and taiwan teacrafts
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Re: Darjeeling Questions

Postby sherubtse » Apr 1st, '14, 18:07

Hard times ahead (?) for lovers of FF:

http://www.business-standard.com/articl ... 197_1.html

Best wishes,
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Re: Darjeeling Questions

Postby Tead Off » Apr 1st, '14, 23:40

wolfrb wrote:
yshuto wrote:I've been drinking lots of High Mtn Taiwanese Oolongs from TFT, Origin, and TTC. The DYL from TTC was excellent and have picked them as my primary source for Oolongteas. So starting from late April I'll
Be ordering the whole array of Darjeelings.

How are the teas from Nepal?



What is TFT and TTC?

Tea from Taiwan and Taiwan Tea Crafts
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