Sunday, 15 August 2010

Where did Darjeeling tea come from?

In my last post I talked about the two places where Camellia sinensis originated, and quickly admitted that I didn't know the origin of Darjeeling tea. Seems like a good place to continue, doesn't it?

So I did the barest minimum of research, and happened upon this site:

Almost seems like this was a lark by the fellow named Campbell who was a civil surgeon (what is that exactly?), but then it says that the government had already elected to set up tea gardens here. In the middle of the nineteenth century, this mountainous region at the foot of the Himalayas went from having no tea plantations to being practically overrun by them.

What I still don't understand is where the strain of tea came from. Did the earliest tea planters in Darjeeling simply plant tea from Assam, and is the light, delicious, floral result merely because of the soil and spirit of Darjeeling?

My intention was to not only search Wikipedia, but then at the bottom of the above-mentioned page, it directed me back to Wikipedia.

Will continue to research the origins of Darjeeling and let you know my results as I find them.


  1. Darjeeling tea is mostly of the camellia sinensis varietal. Plants imported from China, by Robert Fortune (I believe) were planted in Darjeeling and Assam to start cultivation of tea in India. The camellia assamica varietal was discovered after the plants were already cultivated. The camellia assamica varietal is much more suited to the climates of assam, but the sinensis varietal was well suited to the climate of darjeeling, due to the high elevation. I have heard that some of the plantations in darjeeling contain about 70-80 percent sinensis plants and 20-30 percent assamica.
    I am going off the top of my head right now so I dont know how accurate some of my facts are, but I am pretty sure I am on the right page.
    Glad you posted on darjeeling. My next review (should be up in a few minutes) is on a darjeeling tea! Hope you can read it!

  2. I am sure Darjeeling Tea was a plot of the British Empire to rob the Chinese :P