5 Qualities of the Best Darjeeling Tea

Darjeeling Tea fields of Darjeeling, India with beautiful Darjeeling tea leaves showing

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1 - Origins

If you've ever enjoyed a cup of fine Darjeeling tea at a tea house or other establishment, you may have been disappointed after brewing some at home. Chances are you simply purchased the first package of the world-famous tea that you found. One thing's for sure: Different varieties of Darjeeling are not created equal. When it comes to finding the best Darjeeling tea, you need a basic understanding of its most important characteristics and how they affect its quality. Familiarize yourself with these five crucial qualities to ensure the best cup of tea or for use in your cooking with tea in the future.

2 - Crop

The time of year at which the tea is harvested affects its quality. The finest Darjeeling tea comes from the First Flush. It has a very light, golden color and the flavor is subtle, fragrant and delicate. The next best harvest is the Spring Flush, which is rounder, fuller and has a more concentrated, robust flavor. Summer Flush and Autumn Flush produce lower quality teas, but most are still well worth drinking.

3 - Leaf Quality

True tea connoisseurs know all about the importance of leaf quality, and it applies here too. The best leaves, which are picked from delicate, small tips, are classified as Super/Supreme Fine Tippy Garden Flowery Orange Pekoe, or SFTGFOP. At the lowest end of the scale, there's OP, or Orange Pekoe, and FOP, or Flowery Orange Pekoe.

4 - Color

You won't be able to tell when buying the tea, but after brewing it, it should have a light, golden color. If it's dark or doesn't appear to be very golden, odds are that it isn't the best variety of Darjeeling tea, or it may not be this type of tea at all.

5 - Aroma

Finally, pay close attention to the aroma of your tea. The best Darjeeling tea has a distinctive aroma that's akin to grape or muscatel. As you try different varieties of Darjeeling tea, you'll learn to tell which ones have the correct aroma and which don't. If possible, visit a tea shop and try the finest variety they have to know what to expect.


Estate Darjeeling
Delicious and fragrant.
White Darjeeling
A delicate taste and exquisite fragrance.

More Resources About Darjeeling Tea

One of the best things about tea is that there are so many great varieties. From the delicate, lightly citrus flavors of White Darjeeling Tea to the floral, fruity nuances of Estate Darjeeling Tea, there are many options to explore. When you find one you particularly like, consider purchasing an Event Box to ensure you have plenty on hand when you want it.