Is Darjeeling black tea really black?


Ever since I started drinking Darjeeling black teas, I've noticed they always seem ot contain a variable mixture of dark brown and green leaves. Looking more carefully at the unfurled leaves last weekend, I found I could easily also pick out many partially oxidized (red-edged green) leaves. This confuses me a bit, since I thought that black tea was supposed to be completely oxidized and thus should have an even dark brown colour like what we see in black teas from China or other places in India.
Or is Darjeeling black tea supposed to be a mix of un-oxidized, partially oxidized, and fully oxidized leaves? Or is it the climate in Darjeeling that contributes to the a special colour of a fully oxidized Darjeeling black tea?
Reply to
sjschen

Interesting question, actually I have some darjeeling teas which are totally green, they are from the first flush which yields a very light tatsing tea which is green but a dull green,however as I understand these teas have been fermented as you pointed out fermentation or oxidation turns the leaf brown but the darjeeling second flush the leaf is thicker and stronger in flavor and does brown during the fermentation.I have not seen much green tea come out of darjeeling however the high altitude contributes to alot more moisture and the leaf does grow alot quicker hence the lighter flavor of the tea as against assam which is much stronger because of the different conditions it grows in. So the green you see in the leaf is probably leaves from the first flush. I stand to be corrected as I am not an expert in the field (YET)
Reply to
magicleaf
> >Or is Darjeeling black tea supposed to be a mix of un-oxidized, >partially oxidized, and fully oxidized leaves? Or is it the climate in >Darjeeling that contributes to the a special colour of a fully >oxidized Darjeeling black tea?
When I was a kid, typical Darjeeling teas were fully oxidized, but over the years they have become greener and greener to the point where I would not call a typical Darjeeling an actual black tea. It's... well... it's New Darjeeling style. --scott
-- "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
--
"C'est un Nagra.  C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Reply to
Scott Dorsey
Commercial brands of Darjeeling are fully oxidized. The dry and spent leaf is black. Estate brands of Dareeling vary from green to oolong. You can buy some that is even white. I think estate Darjeeling is like Japanese sencha, what we get in th West is what the locals followed by the Germans don't like. The real problem with Darjeeling it might be something else especially if the leaf doesn't look consistent. You also hear complaints it ain't what it use to be. There are one or two who know their Darjeeling so maybe they'll chime in. I prefer commerciall Darjeeling over estate flushes. The competition guarantees the product. Jim > Ever since I started drinking Darjeeling black teas, I've noticed they > always seem ot contain a variable mixture of dark brown and green > leaves. Looking more carefully at the unfurled leaves last weekend, I > found I could easily also pick out many partially oxidized (red-edged > green) leaves. This confuses me a bit, since I thought that black tea > was supposed to be completely oxidized and thus should have an even > dark brown colour like what we see in black teas from China or other > places in India. > > Or is Darjeeling black tea supposed to be a mix of un-oxidized, > partially oxidized, and fully oxidized leaves? Or is it the climate in > Darjeeling that contributes to the a special colour of a fully > oxidized Darjeeling black tea?
Reply to
Space Cowboy
> Commercial brands of Darjeeling are fully oxidized. The dry and spent > leaf is black. Estate brands of Dareeling vary from green to oolong. > You can buy some that is even white. I think estate Darjeeling is > like Japanese sencha, what we get in th West is what the locals > followed by the Germans don't like. The real problem with Darjeeling > it might be something else especially if the leaf doesn't look > consistent. You also hear complaints it ain't what it use to be. > There are one or two who know their Darjeeling so maybe they'll chime > in. I prefer commerciall Darjeeling over estate flushes. The > competition guarantees the product. > > Jim > > > Ever since I started drinking Darjeeling black teas, I've noticed they > > always seem ot contain a variable mixture of dark brown and green > > leaves. Looking more carefully at the unfurled leaves last weekend, I > > found I could easily also pick out many partially oxidized (red-edged > > green) leaves. This confuses me a bit, since I thought that black tea > > was supposed to be completely oxidized and thus should have an even > > dark brown colour like what we see in black teas from China or other > > places in India. > > > Or is Darjeeling black tea supposed to be a mix of un-oxidized, > > partially oxidized, and fully oxidized leaves? Or is it the climate in > > Darjeeling that contributes to the a special colour of a fully > > oxidized Darjeeling black tea?
So all the green and partially oxidized leaves in Darjeeling black teas are really not intentional... meaning that the mixed oxidation leaves from what we are seeing in single-estate Darjeelings is from bad quality control? That would be kinda sad indeed. I'm hoping for sanity sake that it's more like what Scott said above in that this is the "New Darjeeling style" for making "black tea".
Reply to
sjschen
"sjschen" writes: > So all the green and partially oxidized leaves in Darjeeling black > teas are really not intentional... meaning that the mixed oxidation > leaves from what we are seeing in single-estate Darjeelings is from > bad quality control? That would be kinda sad indeed. I'm hoping for > sanity sake that it's more like what Scott said above in that this is > the "New Darjeeling style" for making "black tea".
Sure, they're intentional. The market for high-end Darjeeling, which, as Jim noted, is led by Japanese and German customers, *wants* those green leaves in the mix with the darker ones. There's been a similar trend over recent decades in Taiwanese and Chinese oolongs.
/Lew --- Lew Perin / perin@acm.org
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Lew Perin / perin@acm.org
http://www.panix.com/~perin/babelcarp.html
Reply to
Lewis Perin
> Commercial brands of Darjeeling are fully oxidized. The dry and spent > leaf is black. Estate brands of Dareeling vary from green to oolong. > You can buy some that is even white. I think estate Darjeeling is > like Japanese sencha, what we get in th West is what the locals > followed by the Germans don't like. The real problem with Darjeeling > it might be something else especially if the leaf doesn't look > consistent. You also hear complaints it ain't what it use to be. > There are one or two who know their Darjeeling so maybe they'll chime > in. I prefer commerciall Darjeeling over estate flushes. The > competition guarantees the product. > > Jim > > > > > Ever since I started drinking Darjeeling black teas, I've noticed they > > always seem ot contain a variable mixture of dark brown and green > > leaves. Looking more carefully at the unfurled leaves last weekend, I > > found I could easily also pick out many partially oxidized (red-edged > > green) leaves. This confuses me a bit, since I thought that black tea > > was supposed to be completely oxidized and thus should have an even > > dark brown colour like what we see in black teas from China or other > > places in India. > > > Or is Darjeeling black tea supposed to be a mix of un-oxidized, > > partially oxidized, and fully oxidized leaves? Or is it the climate in > > Darjeeling that contributes to the a special colour of a fully > > oxidized Darjeeling black tea?- Hide quoted text - > > - Show quoted text -
Ah,....very interesting. I just received a parcel of Darjeelings that I ordered directly from India. The estate Darjeelings:Rohini, Goomtee, Maikaibari, Hillton etc. are a finer quality leaf - bronzed, red and green partially oxidized and quite tasty. Several of these, were, indeed, called "oolongs". These were, for me, lacking what I would call "a finish" and could not be infused more than three or four times without becoming truly insipid. In the same order, I purchased "gift packages". These are absolutely lovely little brocade bags, zippered with tiny bells, that are often "taken with" for travel in India. The Darjeelings in these bags was much more like my childhood Darjeeling tea - darker, not very complex and can be infused several times (because of the stronger oxidation ?). Although, very wrapped in very pretty packaging, the tea was more one-dimensional and not marked to any particular estate. Just my opinion. Shen
Reply to
Shen
> "sjschen" writes: > > So all the green and partially oxidized leaves in Darjeeling black > > teas are really not intentional... meaning that the mixed oxidation > > leaves from what we are seeing in single-estate Darjeelings is from > > bad quality control? That would be kinda sad indeed. I'm hoping for > > sanity sake that it's more like what Scott said above in that this is > > the "New Darjeeling style" for making "black tea". > > Sure, they're intentional. The market for high-end Darjeeling, which, > as Jim noted, is led by Japanese and German customers, *wants* those > green leaves in the mix with the darker ones. There's been a similar > trend over recent decades in Taiwanese and Chinese oolongs. > > /Lew > --- > Lew Perin / p...@acm.org
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Hmm... that would mean that calling most of the Darjeelings we consume "black tea" is a misnomer. Maybe, one should consider it to be more of an "estate blend" or an oolong then. To me, the latte sorta makes sense, since the Darjeeling oolongs that I've tried really reminded me much of their black teas, as well as vice-versa.
Reply to
sjschen
>> "sjschen" writes: >> > So all the green and partially oxidized leaves in Darjeeling black >> > teas are really not intentional... meaning that the mixed oxidation >> > leaves from what we are seeing in single-estate Darjeelings is from >> > bad quality control? That would be kinda sad indeed. I'm hoping for >> > sanity sake that it's more like what Scott said above in that this >> > is the "New Darjeeling style" for making "black tea". >> Sure, they're intentional. The market for high-end Darjeeling, >> which, as Jim noted, is led by Japanese and German customers, *wants* >> those green leaves in the mix with the darker ones. There's been a >> similar trend over recent decades in Taiwanese and Chinese oolongs. > Hmm... that would mean that calling most of the Darjeelings we consume > "black tea" is a misnomer. Maybe, one should consider it to be more of > an "estate blend" or an oolong then.
I had never really tried a Darjeeling, so when I was at Chado tearoom recently, I got a Castleton (sp?) first flush to try (I just asked the guy there to recommend something, and he suggested that one, after I said that I didn't drink my tea w/ milk or sugar).
I believe they have it classified as a black tea. To me, it seems very delicate, with similarities to Bai Hao ("Oriental Beauty"), and even some white teas I've tried. The leaves / buds are small, and they don't seem completely oxidized to me.
w
Reply to
Will Yardley

The magic of Darjeeling tea is "At what time should you arrest the fermentation". Technically 90% of Darjeeling black teas are Oolong because they are fermented only upto a certain percentage.
In my words : In Darjeeling - The master tea maker called the Factory Babu - becomes the one who performs the miracle of Darjeeling Tea, he ensures that every roll - imparts an aroma with its own personality. The slow, natural forces of dying, is - accelerated by heat, light and humidity, and at a critical time of climax - this fusion is arrested. The process is a mystery, the quality is the manifestation of the magic.
Playing with fermentation has always been the key factor in Darjeeling teas. No one till date has been able to determine - the time or percentage - something that only comes with experience - for that you need to stand and make tea for several years.
So ......... Darjeeling tea is a mystery...............
www.lochantea.com
Reply to
Ankit Lochan
> > ... To me, the latte sorta makes sense ... > > Please remember that this is a TEA group, with or without milk.
Of course it is. "Latter" was what I meant, " "latte" was typo on my part. If you reread the post, you'll see it makes more sense :)
Reply to
sjschen
Space Cowboy schrieb: > Commercial brands of Darjeeling are fully oxidized. The dry and spent > leaf is black. Estate brands of Dareeling vary from green to oolong. > You can buy some that is even white. I think estate Darjeeling is > like Japanese sencha, what we get in th West is what the locals > followed by the Germans don't like.
Hi and sorry,
I'd like some help in interpretation. The locals, presumably of India, don't like their black tea green, so the Germans don't either, and the green stuff goes the West, which excludes Germany?
For the record, I in Germany noticed a trend towards a more colorful Darjeeling, too, but that may be due more to my purely biographical changing my sources than to a trend in general. On the other hand, what Indians seem to miss in Germany so they have it shipped from their families is CTC tea for their chai.
klaus
Reply to
klaus schmirler
> Ever since I started drinking Darjeeling black teas, I've noticed they > always seem ot contain a variable mixture of dark brown and green > leaves. Looking more carefully at the unfurled leaves last weekend, I > found I could easily also pick out many partially oxidized (red-edged > green) leaves. This confuses me a bit, since I thought that black tea > was supposed to be completely oxidized and thus should have an even > dark brown colour like what we see in black teas from China or other > places in India. > > Or is Darjeeling black tea supposed to be a mix of un-oxidized, > partially oxidized, and fully oxidized leaves? Or is it the climate in > Darjeeling that contributes to the a special colour of a fully > oxidized Darjeeling black tea?
To me, personally, Darjeeling means too delicate, light, or, well, weak for a morning tea. After that, I don't care whether it's called black, green, or something else. I think there are thousands of people out there who are happy to take my share of Darjeeling, and leave me to my Ceylons, Nilgiris, and Assams. Toci
Reply to
toci
klaus schmirler writes: > Space Cowboy schrieb: > > Commercial brands of Darjeeling are fully oxidized. The dry and spent > > leaf is black. Estate brands of Dareeling vary from green to oolong. > > You can buy some that is even white. I think estate Darjeeling is > > like Japanese sencha, what we get in th West is what the locals > > followed by the Germans don't like. > > Hi and sorry, > > I'd like some help in interpretation. The locals, presumably of India, > don't like their black tea green, so the Germans don't either, and the > green stuff goes the West, which excludes Germany? > > For the record, I in Germany noticed a trend towards a more colorful > Darjeeling, too, but that may be due more to my purely biographical > changing my sources than to a trend in general. On the other hand, > what Indians seem to miss in Germany so they have it shipped from > their families is CTC tea for their chai.
I've ordered a cup or pot of Darjeeling a few times in Germany. Each time, it was pretty close to the green end of the scale.
/Lew --- Lew Perin / perin@acm.org
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Lew Perin / perin@acm.org
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Reply to
Lewis Perin

Well, this is an interesting topic.
My understanding of the Darjeeling mystery:
Darjeeling is traditionally a black tea. Due to this tradition it remains a black tea, but thanks to the trends that Scott mentioned up top towards a 'new darjeeling', a variety of teas made from the CS in that region, which are technically green or oolong, are uniformly called darjeeling. Thanks to this, depending on how focused your local tea seller is on breadth of darjeeling, we are blessed to be able to find a full spectrum of very green to black first flush teas. From the second flush on, the trend seems to be to follow with stronger oxidations. Many American sellers, depending on taste of course, tend to choose a greener first flush to show off the marked difference between it and the follow harvests. Of course their European (more UK than anywhere else) counterparts tend to prefer the darker, more wholesome first flush.
Shen's mention of an "insipid" quality after a few steeps could either be due to the infusing of the tea with boiling water, which is great if you have one of the more traditional black darjeelings, but can adversely affect the greener modern varieties, or of course it may just not be good tea? I would love to hear if you try out other temperatures Shen.
I have tried a few of the first flush darjeelings for the season, does anyone have any thoughts on those they have tried? I have enjoyed the lemon grass aromas and the sweet citrus mouth of the second and third infusions in the greener styles, any thoughts?
AMA
Reply to
Ravenna Roller
>I have tried a few of the first flush darjeelings for the season, does >anyone have any thoughts on those they have tried? I have enjoyed the >lemon grass aromas and the sweet citrus mouth of the second and third >infusions in the greener styles, any thoughts?
I just want to say that I have just recently tried the Rohini Enigma, and it's not exactly like the darjeeling I drank as a kid, but it seems like a much higher grade version of that. Very open and flowery, with an incredibly strong fruit and floral flavour when you first sip it, which decays down into a tannic tea aftertaste but without the grass clipping sort of flavour that I am accustomed to with modern Darjeelings. Highly recommended. --scott -- "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
--
"C'est un Nagra.  C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Reply to
Scott Dorsey
> I just want to say that I have just recently tried the Rohini Enigma, > and it's not exactly like the darjeeling I drank as a kid, but it seems > like a much higher grade version of that. Very open and flowery, with > an incredibly strong fruit and floral flavour when you first sip it, > which decays down into a tannic tea aftertaste but without the grass clipping > sort of flavour that I am accustomed to with modern Darjeelings. Highly > recommended. > --scott
I will second that opinion. Many of the Darjeelings I have tasted recently are more reminiscent of oolongs than of red teas. I have been very impressed by some of the Rohini estate teas of late. There is one that I nicknamed "Juicy Fruit" because it is so lively. Another very interesting darjeeling is called "Silver Thunder" which I "think" is processed more like a white tea.
Now you went and got me in the mood for some, will have to brew it up after work tonight.
Mike
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Reply to
Mike Petro
> > I just want to say that I have just recently tried the Rohini Enigma, > > and it's not exactly like the darjeeling I drank as a kid, but it seems > > like a much higher grade version of that. Very open and flowery, with > > an incredibly strong fruit and floral flavour when you first sip it, > > which decays down into a tannic tea aftertaste but without the grass clipping > > sort of flavour that I am accustomed to with modern Darjeelings. Highly > > recommended. > > --scott > > I will second that opinion. Many of the Darjeelings I have tasted > recently are more reminiscent of oolongs than of red teas. I have been > very impressed by some of the Rohini estate teas of late. There is one > that I nicknamed "Juicy Fruit" because it is so lively. Another very > interesting darjeeling is called "Silver Thunder" which I "think" is > processed more like a white tea. > > Now you went and got me in the mood for some, will have to brew it up > after work tonight. > > Mike
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Dear friends,
Ankit Lochan has posted an observation which indeed is from up close! However, let me try to Demystify the Green in Darjeeling Black. Traditionally, Darjeeling Planters pluck very fine. And then these tender shoots, which as it is comes from the tiny chinary varieties, are subjected to high degree of Withering. Withered Leaf : Made Tea ratio of 60 % is not uncommon. What happens due to such high degree of wither is that the shoots have just sufficient amount of juice concentrates in them to ooze out and cover itself when rolled under pressure. Now comes the cach ; when the average recovery is 60 %, it is but natural that there would be some shoots which have virtually dried up during withering. These shoots are the ones which do get cell damage and subsequent Oxidation, but lack the juices to cover themselves with. And hence, they remain Green inspite of being Black!
Any comments?
Regards, Jayesh pandya.
Reply to
teapandya
I've had every major estate green or oolong Darjeeling over the past couple of years since my local tea shoppe opened. I can say none really ever made me regret when I ran out including Rohini. I keep reading about the wonderful taste of Darjeeling. There was the one poster who traveled between Darjeeling and Germany who seemed to make the point the second flush (after the rains) is the desirable Darjeeling. I checked my old labels and everything is first flush. So I'm curious what flush is this? Jim PS It looks like to me a great Darjeeling would have to fall in your lap more than what is available in the market place. > I just want to say that I have just recently tried the Rohini Enigma, > and it's not exactly like the darjeeling I drank as a kid, but it seems > like a much higher grade version of that. Very open and flowery, with > an incredibly strong fruit and floral flavour when you first sip it, > which decays down into a tannic tea aftertaste but without the grass clipping > sort of flavour that I am accustomed to with modern Darjeelings. Highly > recommended. > --scott > -- > "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Reply to
Space Cowboy

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