Oh my darling Darjeeling tea-India Drink and Culture

It’s Sunday afternoon. I just took a much-needed nap. The rain is getting ready to come down in the Piedmont area and I am sipping a nice cup of hot Darjeeling tea. I bought this tea especially for the occasion, to celebrate anything India. Did you know that Darjeeling tea is the “champagne of teas?” It is also the most exotic and expensive tea in the world. When steeped, it is gold in color- whiskey color- and the taste is pleasant and calming.  The only thing missing is curling up with a blanket and a good book ( that’s next!).

This particular tea is grown in “tea gardens” much like the picture to the right and depending on the seasons, the plucked tea leaves correspond to the flush, for the flavor of tea desired. Because of  it’s uniqueness, the tea cannot be replicated. Here’s why:

Grown in the romantic and mystical mountainous region of Darjeeling at an elevation of 750 – 2000 metre, the tea is imbued with an incomparable charisma and quality. Grown in century old Tea Gardens, these tea bushes are nurtured by intermittent rainfall, sunshine and moisture laden mellow mists. The soil is rich and the hilly terrain provides natural drainage for the generous rainfall the district receives.” Darjeeling Tea Faqs

According to the Tea Board of India ( this is serious tea business here!) “Darjeeling tea, means that the tea has been cultivated, grown, produced, manufactured and processed in these tea gardens.”  You can find the tea in the Darjeeling tea districts, located in West Bengal, India, near the Himalayan mountains. The capital of West Bengal is Kolkata, formerly called Calcutta.

As prominent as tea is in West Bengal, another important part of  this area is Mother Teresa of Calcutta who founded the Missionaries of Charity. She was an advocate for the poor and helpless. When she received her calling to  become a nun, she began her training and preparation of her monastic calling in Darjeeling. I like to imagine her sipping on this exotic cup of tea.  Instead, I rather believe she shared her cup with the distraught-the most expensive tea shared with the poor.

Now my cup of tea is gone, and I am content, how can I not be, when I have stories like Mother Teresa. Next time you’re in the store, pick up a box of Darjeeling and share a cup of tea with someone ( look for the approved Darjeeling Tea Symbol-sort of like the USDA stamp- to assure you get the best). “It is a kingly act to assist the fallen.” Mother Teresa.

Okay, gotta cook Indian! Phir Milenge-see you later!


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