Darjeeling tea to come in different varieties

Darjeeling Tea is set to spoil you for choices.

Thanks to their innovative ideas and skills, some of the makers (about half a dozen of the 87 registered gardens) of the world’s premium brew are now coming up with super special varieties — white, green and oolong. This trend, it is hoped, will redefine brand Darjeeling.

“We have completely pha-sed out black tea from our Darjeeling gardens,” Hrishikesh Saria of Sona Tea Ltd told The Telegraph. The company has three gardens in Darjeeling. “We are now focused on producing only niche, stand-alone tea — those that do not require milk and sugar,” he added.

White tea, given that it is made from the most tender leaf (only one) and a bud (five-seven days old), can be produced only in very small quantities and are mostly handmade. “We can make only about 350 kg of white tea every year,” Saria said.

It is not only international demand but growing domestic consciousness that is giving the growers a fillip. “Though their numbers (domestic consumers) are still to grow, they are significant enough and our exclusive offerings like Avongrove Silver Blossom, Gopaldhara Red Thunder and Rohini Enigma have got an excellent response,” said Saria.

However, the major buyers of speciality Darjeeling Tea are still the foreigners. “Most of our speciality tea goes to Germany, Japan, Australia and France,” said D.K. Ghosh, manager of Makaibari tea estate. “They are, too, expensive for the domestic buyers.” The super-speciality tea is available at anything between Rs 5,000 and Rs 25,000 a kilogram.

Not limiting itself to catering only to the niche customer, the Saria group is experimenting in drawing the masses into buying the speciality tea. “We are introducing regular variety oolongs at affordable prices (Rs 105 for 100 g),” Saria said.

Other than super-specialisation of produce, the Darjeeling Tea industry is witnessing new trends in packaging.

“It is perhaps the realisation of international marketing standards that has made growers focus not only on product innovation and branding, but packaging as well,” said Ranen Dutta, a tea consultant. “Never before had Darjeeling Tea such beautiful and impressive packages and containers.”

Sanjay Bansal, vice-chairman of Darjeeling Planters’ Association, said: “Not only will this tea be able to fetch more prices in the international market, they will add to the brand image of Darjeeling Tea.”

Source: The Telegraph


Anonymous said...

Enigma Oolongs and Avongrove Darjeeling varietals are amongst my must haves. Quite happy creators of new brews are concocting new identities as well as the classic and orthodox teas. TheDarjeelingTeaLadyFumiko