Darjeeling Tea Grades
Darjeeling Tea is mostly produced with an orthodox method that keeps the leaves whole during the production. When Darjeeling Tea is sold, it is classified by size and quality.
- Choppy: contains many leaves of various sizes.
- Fannings: are small particles of tea leaves used almost exclusively in tea bags.
- Flowery: consists of large leaves, typically plucked in the second or third flush with an abundance of tips.
- Golden Flowery: includes very young tips or buds (usually golden in colour) that were picked early in the season.
- Tippy: includes an abundance of tips.
- SFTGFOP: Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (SFTGFOP) indicates that it contains many tips and are long and wiry in appearance. The tea liquor is lighter in color, but this depends on the Darjeeling tea season.
- FTGFOP: Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (FTGFOP).
- FTGBOP: Fine Tippy Golden Broken Orange Pekoe (FTGBOP) Darjeeling Tea leaves are smaller in size and are graded in decreasing order of quality.
- TGBOP: Tippy Golden Broken Orange Pekoe.
- FBOP: Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe.
- BOP: Broken Orange Pekoe.
- GFOF: Golden Flowery Orange Fannings (GFOF) Darjeeling Tea leaves are still smaller in size than the brokens and are graded in decreasing order of quality.
- GOF: Golden Orange Fannings.
- D: Dust
Darjeeling Tea Seasons
Cradled in the foothills of the snow covered and towering Himalayan range, this exclusively exquisite Darjeeling Tea is grown in Darjeeling at an altitude ranging from 750 to 2000 metres. The combination of the moist wet and cool climate, the rich fertile soil, the incessant rainfall and the gradually sloping terrain gives a matchless and unique “muscatel” flavour. The manifestation of the individual and distinct flavour comes out specifically during its growing tea season from the month of March to November each year.
FIRST FLUSH DARJEELING (Late February to mid April)
Spring is the season of life, reawakening and freshness. After cold, chilly and the dormant winter months, life takes a new lease in Darjeeling with the Darjeeling First Flush, and this is also apparent with the appearance of new tender shoots on the tea shrubs with its delicate, fragile and grey-green sheen on the leaves. The tea liquor is characterized by a light translucent color and a mild astringent flavor that impart a lively character to the tea. The distinctive feature of this “First Flush Darjeeling Tea” is a fragrant floral aroma and a bright lime-greenish eminence of infused leaves.
SECOND FLUSH DARJEELING (May to June)
The production of the world renowned “summer tea” or Second Flush Darjeeling Tea is produced from the month of May. The Second Flush Darjeeling results from the luscious, moist and juicy leaves characterized by very enticing facade with a turquoise, purplish bloom and a touch of shimmering shiny apex (buds). The infused tea leaves are more vivid in its color and appearance than that of spring. It is characterized by mature and a mellow brew. It is during this period that the famous “Darjeeling Muscatel" flavor becomes pronounced. This period expresses a full bodied aroma with its infused tea leaves of bright copper or purplish tinge.
MONSOON TEAS (July to September)
The “Monsoon Darjeeling Tea" forms the bulk of ‘breakfast blend’ for it has more colour and is much stronger in its brew and appearance. The teas picked during the rainy season are thought to hold too much water. Some tea connoisseurs have the habit of taking this tea with a little bit of milk added, but this is totally on personal likings.
AUTUMN FLUSH DARJEELING (October to November)
In the months of October and November the “Autumnal flush tea quality" makes its prominence felt. The tea liquor imparts a delicate, yet a silvery and glimmering character and the appearance lends a light brownish tinge or gentle copper glow. This Autumn Flush Darjeeling Tea has a delightfully distinct feature and taste completely differs from that of First Flush and the Second Flush teas. The infused tea leaves has a golden coppery hue with an aromatic and fresh fragrance.
From Tunderbolt Tea