Pure Black Teas from India: Assam, Darjeeling, Nilgiri Tea
India is a vast tea-producing country with teas grown in the Assam, Darjeeling, and Nilgiri regions. Though it is best known for its black teas, India produces all types of tea. The many types of Indian tea reflect the vast landscapes and cultures found there. The diverse climates throughout the country provide for distinctly different flavor profiles from each area.
Not only does India grow a lot of tea, they drink a lot of it too. Enjoy the abundant flavors and variety in these very special teas from India:
Assam Teas of India
In northeastern India, the Assam region holds immense tea gardens established at the height of the British empire. During that time Assam black tea rose to prominence and quickly became the leading competitor to China and its monopoly on tea.
The substantial monsoon rains and elevated humidity levels create excellent growing conditions for tea. The tea artisans of India use the plant varietal known as camellia sinensis assamica to produce Assam tea. Chinese black teas come from the camellia sinensis sinensis varietal.
Assam black teas are well-loved for their bold flavors. They pour a rich, vibrant red brew. The full-bodied infusion has a sweet toastiness with notes of honey and caramel. Robust Assam tea has abundant tannins, a naturally occurring compound in many black teas, which gives it the characteristic briskness.
Assam Black Tea – Mokalbari Estate
Our Assam teas are prized for their bold, malty flavors. This single-estate Assam tea delivers a deep, bittersweet, malt-heavy aroma and flavor, balanced with hints of spice and fruit.
Darjeeling Teas of India
Hilly, green, picturesque, and covered with tea gardens… the renowned Darjeeling region is an extraordinary place. Darjeeling’s subtropical climate and elevation (6000 feet above sea level) make it ideal for growing tea. Situated in the northeastern reaches of India, nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, this area is known for its splendid single-estate teas.
The complex and exquisite flavor of these teas is remarkable, along with fragrant aromas and golden liquor. Exquisite notes of muscat grape, stone fruit and toasted nuts are all captured in these wondrous leaves, unique to Darjeeling teas.
Drinking a single-estate Darjeeling is vastly different from drinking a blended tea. They offer more nuanced complexity. Single-estate Darjeeling teas, like ours from Sungma or Makaibari estates, taste different each year due to variations in terroir (climate and weather). Read more about Darjeeling, The Champagne of Teas.
Organic Darjeeling Black Tea – Sungma Estate
Clean, bright and light flavors are key in this Darjeeling. Sweet notes of fresh-cut wildflowers, white grapes and just-ripe nectarines are gently balanced with an herbaceous, woodsy character that is prized in spring harvested Darjeeling teas.
Nilgiri Teas of India
Tea has been growing in the Nilgiri region since the 1800s. This area, in the southern part of India, is named after the Nilgiri mountain range. It’s cooler because of the high elevation, and has both wet and dry seasons which combine as ideal for growing tea.
The region is small, and tea bushes cover the slopes and valleys. These high elevation tea plants grow slower and generally yield lighter, more refined flavors compared to teas grown at lower elevations.
The tea of Nilgiri is straightforward, slightly woody with floral notes. It produces a mellow liquor with a clean finish. It’s ideal for iced tea because of its low astringency.
Organic Nilgiri Black Tea
The reddish leaves of this organic black tea brew into a deep amber infusion with a bold yet smooth flavor. It’s invigorating and crisp whether you enjoy it hot or iced. Subtle hints of spice and new growth forest will delight.
Love Indian black teas? Check out our blog post Tea Lore: India and Prince Dharma