DArJeeLInG is a tea-growing region in northern India that lies at altitudes of up to 3,000 metres in the foothills of the Himalayas. There are roughly 73 tea plantations, that are sometimes at altitudes as high as 2,000 metres, which is why Darjeeling is often described as “tea from the top of the world”. As the winters here are very cold, leaves are picked seven days a week over a nine-month period, with the bushes producing only very small leaves. Just 2% of India’s tea leaves are harvested in this region, with first flush (spring harvest) and second flush (summer harvest) the most popular varieties. The exceptional taste of this tea can be attributed to the unique and somewhat harsh climate – connoisseurs wax lyrical about this tea and drink it in its purest form or sometimes with a touch of sugar.
AssAm – the largest unbroken growing region in northern India, situated on the border with China. Cultivation began in 1836 under British colonial rule. nowadays, there are around 600 tea plantations along the Brahmaputra river in a land- scape dominated by jungle and marshland. The hot, humid climate gives rise to large harvests, with 50% of India’s tea production originating from the region. Assam teas are amongst the strongest and most full-bodied of black teas and boast a spicy, slightly malty flavour and a dark brown colour when poured. Characteristic of Assam tea are the visible golden tips in the otherwise deep-black leaves. The most popular and important varieties are taken from the summer harvest and form the basis of our Frisian and east Frisian blends, which are usually enjoyed with cream and brown rock sugar.
CeyLon – once a coffee-growing island, it was turned into a tea island by the British in 1867 following a crop blight. Politically speaking, Ceylon tea has survived the island’s change of name to sri Lanka. With around 400 tea plantations, sri Lanka is the world’s largest exporter of the beverage. Ceylon tea is grown in various upland areas and a distinction can be made between low-grown (up to 650 m), medium-grown (650–1,300 m) and high-grown (1,300 m and above) varieties. our favoured blends originate from the uplands of Dimbula, Uva and nuwara eliya and boast a fresh, spicy taste and a clear golden brown colour when poured. Ceylon Tea forms the basis of our British blend and is often enjoyed with milk.
Tea has only been cultivated in Africa for around a century, making it a relatively new growing region. The leaves are now harvested in large quantities in Kenya, malawi, Cameroon, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Burundi and rwanda – with the British the tea’s main buyers. African teas bear a strong resemblance to Assam teas in terms of the colour of the leaves and the colour when poured. When it comes to taste, the teas are somewhere in-between a full-bodied, spicy Assam and a fresh Ceylon, but contain far fewer tannins. rooibos, or red bush, a tea-like product from south Africa, established itself on the market several years ago. The plant grows 50 km north of Cape Town and – once pruned, fermented and dried – makes for a coppery and slightly sweet infusion. Packed with vitamins and minerals, rooibos tea is low in tannins and caffeine-free.