The Darjeeling marathon


8 April 2022
The Darjeeling marathon

Every year, we tea sommeliers are subjected to a marathon: the Darjeeling spring harvests. Samples of new-season teas from the region arrive in bags of ten, twenty or thirty. You must taste them within half a day if you want to be in with a chance of getting hold of the tea. The sooner you buy, the more expensive it is, but the longer you wait, the more you run the risk of missing out on the teas you want. This process, which only takes place for Darjeeling because sales go to the highest bidder and batches don’t exceed a few dozen kilos, lasts about six weeks. By the end, the entire spring production has been sold and the tea bushes, distressed by three consecutive harvests, take a rest before resuming their growth. An observation at this point: every year, these teas are worth more and more. Yet all the gardens in Darjeeling claim to be losing money due to rising production costs, and the increases don’t appear to benefit the pickers. The Mckinsey audits, which were so maligned on the eve of the election, would be invaluable in shedding light on this mystery.

You like this post?
Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share

Similar articles

Teas worth seeking out

20 July 2018

Africa produces enormous quantities of tea – did you know that Kenya is the world’s biggest exporter? It’s mainly low grade, destined for the production of tea bags. But if…

Share on Facebook. Tweet this!

In Japan, the harvests of tea are also delayed

4 May 2010

These days I was nearby Shizuoka, the main tea producing region of Japan. I took this picture in Tawaramine, a highly considered place for growing tea. Beyond the harmonious curve…

Share on Facebook. Tweet this!

The frenzied pace of the spring harvests

23 May 2014

My selection of first-flush Darjeelings is over, the Nepalese season is in full flow, and then it’s the turn of the new-season China teas, before the first Japanese Ichibancha are…

Share on Facebook. Tweet this!