Darjeeling loose-leaf tea is a type of tea that is grown in the Darjeeling district of west Bengal, India. Due to its popularity, you may be thinking about how it is made/grown…
Stage 1: Plucking
The first step in making Darjeeling is plucking the tea leaves, tea leaves are plucked from the bushes by hand usually early in the morning when they are at their freshest. Most tea pickers are so experienced they only select the top two leaves and a bud due to them being the youngest in age and most tender.
Stage 2: Withering
Once the tea leaves are plucked it’s time to spread them out into thin layers and leave them for several hours. This allows the leaves to wilt and lose some of their moisture. The withering process is crucial as it prepares the tea for the next step by making them significantly easier to roll.
Stage 3: Rolling
After withering, the tea leaves are carefully rolled out by hand or a machine to break the cell walls down. This allows the release of essential oils and flavour compounds. Rolling Is a crucial step as it helps shape the leaves and enhances their flavour and scent. Rolled leaves also begin the oxidization process.
Step 4: Oxidation
Oxidation is a natural chemical reaction which occurs when the leaves are exposed to oxygen. During this process, the rolled tea leaves turn darker and develop a more enhanced taste. The level of oxidation can vary depending on the tea being made and the tea maker’s preference although generally Darjeeling tea is partially oxidized allowing the tea to have a unique flavour.
Step 5: Firing
Once the tea leaves have been oxidised, they are dried by being fired into large ovens or over hot charcoal fires. Firing allows the oxidation stage to finish. The temperature and duration of firing is varied and can depend on the specific type of Darjeeling being made.
Step 6: Sorting and Grading
Once the tea leaves have been fully dried, they are sorted by size and quality. The highest quality leaves are selected for loose leaf tea. Sorting Is vital as it ensures only the best leaves are chosen for the teas.
Step 7: Packaging
The final step of the process is packaging the loose-leaf tea. The tea leaves are packed into an airtight container or bag to ensure freshness, which allows the flavour and aroma to be preserved. Darjeeling tea is usually packed into vacuum-sealed bags to allow to moisture or light to get in which may end up affecting the quality of the tea.
In conclusion, the process of making Darjeeling loose-leaf tea is a complex and time-consuming task which takes significant levels of skill and patience to let you enjoy an exquisite flavour which BRUU ensures. Whether you are a tea lover or not you cannot deny the work that goes in to allow you to have a tasty cup of Darjeeling tea.