Everyone has a unique tea preference suiting his/her own taste buds. Some like green tea, some stick to the traditional English breakfast milk tea, while some other like to go for herbal infusions. They may or may not be very aware of the other kinds of tea, which they hardly consume. But there are two names which every tea drinker ought to know - Assam tea and Darjeeling tea. It is known all over the globe due to its distinctive aroma and flavors and that is why they buy Darjeeling tea.
Tea was first cultivated in Assam due to the intervention and addiction of the British; earlier it was imported from China. Both of these tea types are produced in India in the regions of Assam and Darjeeling (West Bengal), thereby deriving their names. These are some of the most expensive teas you will find in the tea market, as these are considered as the finest quality of tea. Though these two teas have some similarities, we are going to discuss how they differ from one another.
Though the regions of Assam and Darjeeling are adjacent geographically, but the variation of the climate and method of cultivation is what makes the difference. The cultivation at the foothills of Himalayas, is what makes the Darjeeling tea infused of its unique aroma.
The climate of Assam is suitable for tea cultivation. In fact, most of the tea in India is produced in this region, approximately 600 million Kg out of 900 million Kg. Thus, when you buy Assam tea, you are one of the several million consumers who are fond of this blend. The rich clay soil and precise cool winters clubbed with humid and hot summers along with adequate rainfall makes it the perfect niche to produce this high quality tea.
The climate of Darjeeling is much colder as compared to that of Assam. The tea plantation is in the regions of the foothills of the Kanchenjunga in the form of step cultivation. This contributes towards even distribution and drainage of rain. Due to limited quantity and unmatched taste, it is always high on demand. The additional contributing factors such as soil type, wind and sun exposure time also play important roles in it.
Harvest type and time
The Assam tea has two seasons of harvest.
First flush- In the month of March, with fresh flowery fragrance. It gives the golden yellow infusion.
Second flush- In the month of May and June. Also known as ‘tippy tea’, due to its golden tips is the best quality of tea. It gives deep brown infusion.
The Darjeeling tea has four seasons of harvest-
First flush- In the month of March to April, it is tender new shoots called buds are plucked.
Second flush- In the month of May and June, the more mature and fruity flavored tea leaves are plucked.
Monsoon flush- In the month of September, it produces a strong tea with a deep brown color.
Autumn flush- In the month of October and November, it produces strong and fruity flavored tea.
So next time you buy tea, whether Assam or Darjeeling tea, be proud because you are now more aware of your tea. Cheers!