How to make a cup of Darjeeling tea

 
It is quite common to hear the frustrated tea drinkers complaining about not getting the right flavor and aroma after being served a cup of Darjeeling tea. That's because making a cup of Darjeeling tea is a delicate process. Ignoring any of the prescribed steps can result in loss of authentic flavor and taste. 
 
But first of all, you need to ensure that you purchase the tea leaves from an authentic source. Unless you are buying a major brand, look for the Darjeeling Tea logo on the package that certifies the garden and the tea produced as genuine. 
 
 
 
I have discussed about the logo in Best places to drink & buy tea in Darjeeling
 
Making a great cup of Darjeeling tea depends on the type of tea leaves - Black, Oolong, Green or White. However, there are a few common factors that you will need to ensure before you start preparing any type of Darjeeling tea: 
 
  • Don't use tap water unless you know for sure that it is soft and has no salt, chlorine and iron content. Any of these impurities can completely spoil the taste  and flavor of Darjeeling tea. I always use packaged drinking water. If you have a modern water purifier at home that essentially creates fresh mineral/spring water, then that certainly can be used. 
  • While storing the tea leaves, use an airtight and preferably aluminum container. This will preserve the tea leaves and retain the natural aroma. You will notice that almost all tea packages sold in the market have sealed aluminum foil packs inside that contain the tea leaves. 
  • Not many are aware that using right tea accessory is extremely important getting the right aroma and flavor of the tea. I always prefer to use pure China porcelain tea pots and cups. If you are using a new tea pot, then clean it with boiling water first and use it for making Darjeeling tea only (preferably for the same type of tea). Do not use a soap for cleaning the pot, instead you may use baking powder. Before pouring the tea, rinse the cup with boiling water. Try to use a tea cozy to keep the tea hot for a longer time. 
  • I would suggest avoiding a gas oven for heating up the water. Instead use an electric kettle or an oven. In case you are using a container to boil the water, use a steel container. 
  • For proper infusion to take place, put the tea leaves into the pot and then pour hot water on it. Do not use metallic infusion balls that do not allow proper infusion of Darjeeling tea as the leaves expand inside blocking the pores. 
  • The steeping time required varies depending on the type of tea, flush, quantity added and the kind of liquor (strong or mild) that you are looking for. It can only be perfected over time through trial and error. 
  • One last thing, the real connoisseurs of Darjeeling tea would never add milk or sugar to the liquor as that somewhat changes the authentic aromatic flavor of Darjeeling tea. It is best to have the liquor as is without adding anything. However, you can add one or two drops of fresh lemon juice. But remember that adding lemon juice would change the signature color of the liquor and make it even lighter. Another option is to use a lime slice. 
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    Making a cup of Darjeeling Black Tea 
  • Place 1 tea spoon full of whole tea leaves in a cleaned empty pot. If you are using broken leaves or fanning, then half tea spoon will suffice. 
  • Boil the water, pour into the pot, and cover the pot with the lid. 
  • Let it brew for 3 to 5 minutes. The duration will depend on how strong you want the liquor to be. In case you want to add milk and/or sugar, brew it for 5 minutes. 
  • Strain and serve. 
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    Making a cup of Darjeeling Oolong Tea 
  • Place 1 tea spoon full of whole tea leaves in a cleaned empty pot. 
  • Keep the water below boiling point. Pour into the pot, and cover the pot with the lid 
  • Let it brew for at least 3 to 5 minutes so that the real oolong flavor comes out. 
  • Do not add milk or sugar. 
  • Strain and serve. 
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    Making a cup of Darjeeling Green Tea 
  • Place 1 tea spoon full of whole tea leaves in a cleaned empty pot. 
  • Heat up the water and keep it below boiling point (ideal is about 85-90°C). Remember not to put boiling water into green tea as that would spoil its natural nutrition as well as the flavor. Green tea is processed in such a way to retain a lot of non-oxidants and natural ingredients that are very useful for health.  
  • Pour the hot water into the pot. Cover the pot with the lid. 
  • Let it brew for 2 to 3 minutes. 
  • Do not add milk or sugar. 
  • Strain and serve. 
  • Note that the same brewed green tea leaves can be used up to three times for making more tea. The brewed tea leaves continue to retain the natural aroma and flavors. 
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    Making a cup of Darjeeling White Tea 
  • Place 1 tea spoon full of whole tea leaves in a cleaned empty pot. 
  • Heat up the water and keep it well below boiling point. White tea leaves are kept in their natural form and therefore retain all the natural minerals and other nutrients. Do not to put boiling water into White tea as that would spoil all its natural nutrition as well as the flavor. 
  • Pour the hot water into the pot. Cover the pot with the lid. 
  • Let it brew for 40 seconds to 2 minutes. 
  • Do not add milk or sugar. 
  • Strain and serve. 
  • Note that the same brewed White tea leaves can be used several times for making more tea. The brewed tea leaves continue to retain the natural aroma and flavors. However, you will need to brew it for longer duration when you re-use the already brewed leaves. 
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