Most of the worlds best-known and most delicious black teas are made from Camellia Sinensis Assamica, the tea plant varietal native to India. Home to three growing regions, Assam, Darjeeling and Nilgiri, all have teas named after their place of origin. The Assam and Darjeeling regions lie at the foot of the Himalaya mountain range where the soil, climate and perhaps extraordinary scenery give rise to rich, bold, malty and floral teas. Nilgiri teas are grown in Southern India and reminiscent of Ceylons. Tea Plucker Originally, the British brought tea seeds from China to India before noticing the Indians picking and drinking the leaves of wild assam bushes. Once the native Assam bush was discovered the British quickly planted tea gardens and created a vibrant world tea market.

Throughout India, England and many other parts of the world, excluding China and Japan, black tea is consumed with milk, sugar, and in India with various other sweet and savory spices. As sam teas are best enjoyed with milk and sugar which lessen the tannin content and accentuate the malty flavor.

Darjeelings, perhaps the most unique of all black teas, are lightly floral, mildly tannic, sometimes earthy and light. These fine black teas are commonly enjoyed with out milk or sugar and can stand several good steepings, especially if each steeping is just one minute.
Darjeeling Tea RegionEach Darjeeling is named after the estate it is from, such as Margaret’s Hope, Pussingbing, Risheehat and Namring. Teahouse Kuan Yin carries at least two of each estate, usually a first and second flush, which refers to the time it is plucked. First flushes are plucked in early spring after the first rains, second flush are picked in June and Autumnal Flush is plucked in Autumn. darjeeling-tea-leaves
Nilgiri tea, often used for blends or tea bags, is best known as Orange Pekoe and despite its use in tea bags can still be considered one of the finest black teas when grown, plucked and processed with intention. The Nilgiri region is proximal to Ceylon so the teas have similar growing climates and therefore are closer in appearance, aroma and flavor.

During our tasting we talked about the history and culture surrounding India’s black teas and were carried away to a place and time that brought forth one of the worlds most consumed beverages.

All of these wonderful teas and many more can be found at