The Darjeeling region of north-east India is on the border of China, Bhutan and Nepal in the foothills of the mighty Himalayas and Mount Everest. The teas are produced at a higher elevation than any other tea variety and have a unique flavour and special aroma.
For 2021, we have chosen teas from the Puttabong Estate, twenty two rolling kilometres known as “Queen of the Hills”, overlooked by the towering Kanchenjunga mountain.
It was the East India Company pioneers who founded the garden in 1857 and today more than 1500 men and women grow, tend to and harvest the tea, using only sustainable methods.
Himalayan winters are bitterly cold, but by the time the early spring sunshine ventures through the region’s crystalline air – creating an effect known as “the Darjeeling mist” - the tea bushes flourish with tender shoots.
The first Flush [meaning harvest] grows best in tea estates which enjoy a warm climate and humid soil, and a rainfall of at least 100 centimetres a year, says Tea Master Lalith Lenadora.
“Ideally, she likes deep, light, acidic and well-drained soil. These conditions help to ensure a good crop. As with any crop, unusual weather can cause problems – this is why the tea varies slightly each year."
The 2021 crop experienced an unusually warm, sunny climate, and with the the arrival of some welcome spring rain, all conditions were met for a vintage year.