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Darjeeling Darling


About Darjeeling Darling Tea


Quite simply, the tea to end all teas. A cup of fine Darjeeling is probably about as close to a religious experience as one can get armed with a kettle and some dried leaves. With some of the finest varieties selling for genuinely silly amounts, the delectably delicate taste of Darjeeling is one only for the truly sophisticated and refined among us. We at the Kettle Shed have even been reliably informed that Her Maj. unfailingly enjoys a cup at breakfast.

Our 'Tukdah' Darjeeling, taken from the first and freshest flush of leaves, sublimely demonstrates the tea's long-held reputation as the 'Champagne of Teas.' The fresh green leaves brew into a bright cup with a clean, savoury character that is uniquely aromatic and elegantly floral.

 

Taste 

A light, refreshing flavour with savoury and citrus notes.

Aroma 

Smooth floral fragrance with echoes of fruit and hop.

Appearance 

This tea is translucent brown with a deep red and orange tint.


History and Origins

Historically, the idyllic hills of Darjeeling rose above the ancient kingdom of the Raja of Sikkim. At the dawn of the 19th century, the Raja, Tshudpud Namgyal, was spending most of his time grappling with the Nepalese for his territory and coming off decidedly worst. Luckily for Namgyal, the British East India Company, seeing their interests threatened, came to his aid and, in 1814, precipitated a conflict commonly known as the 'Ghurkha Wars'. The British emerged victorious and, by 1817, the Treaty of Titalia was signed handing all annexed territory (which was plenty) back to the grateful Raja.

Ten years later, two British Army officers, sent to monitor a resurgence of violence in the region, were so struck by Darjeeling's scenery and climate that they earmarked it as a capital spot for a new sanatorium in the area. Enquiries were made and, in 1835, (in an era when the length of a British official’s name was a helpful litmus test as to how kindly a refusal would be met) His Excellency, Lieutenant-General Lord William Henry Cavendish Bentinck GCB, GCH, PC, Governor-General of India, wrote a scrupulously polite letter asking the Raja of Sikkim if he would be so kind as to give him the land.

The reply was prompt and, indeed, kind: “…out of friendship for the said Governor-General, (I) hereby present Darjeeling to the East India.” In fact, though this concession was unsurprising, the agreement actually resulted in a nice little earner for the Raja, who managed to convince the British to pay him monthly compensation for the small, completely uninhabited strip of land.

In the same year (1835), a Dr. A. Campbell, of the Bengali Medical Service, was dispatched from his post in Kathmandu to set about founding the new hill station at Darjeeling. Four years later the hills were fully serviced by a road and Campbell had become chief superintendent of the lease.

Positively flushed with success in 1841, the good doctor conducted a little tea-growing experiment on his Darjeeling estate using Chinese tea-seeds, rather than the native Indian ones. When it transpired that the leaves of his labour tasted a little more than spectacular, a wealth of new growers flooded into the region to repeat Campbell's feat. The Darjeeling tea industry was born.

 

Brewing Instructions

  • Brew one teaspoon per person in a china pot with freshly boiled water (100°C). 
  • Brew just a trifle longer than is usual with black tea, 3-5 minutes to fully release the delicate flavour. 
  • Pour into a cup and saucer, perch the best damned biscuit you can muster on the side and settle in with an improving book. Perfect.