How often have we come across this choice and picked just any, without a thought! India is amongst the largest producers of tea and yet, most Indians are unaware of the difference between the Assam tea and Darjeeling tea. Well, apart from the names, which are a give away of the geographical origin of these varieties, very few of us could tell the other differences. This article discusses much of these differences, subtle and obvious.
Darjeeling tea is grown in mountains of the Himalayan foothills.
Darjeeling is a town in the State of West Bengal. A hilly town snugged in the foothills of Eastern Himalaya. This beautiful town produces one of the most famous teas in the world, Darjeeling tea. Something about the soil, water & climate over this location, the tea grown in Darjeeling hills is famous over the world as ‘champagne’ of teas. Depending on how its processed, the leaves plucked can be black tea, green tea, oolong tea, white tea, and fruit & flower blended teas.
Assam tea is grown on the plains.
Assam is a state located in North East India. The state has the mighty river Brahmaputra running through it, which brings the climatic & geographic conditions right for the Assam Tea plantations. High rainfall with hot and humid climate of this region sets the tone right for growing this famous tea. Assam may be the largest tea growing region in India producing more than 600 million kgs of tea per year! Assam’s taste crafted by the Assam’s rich loamy soil brought down by the Brahmaputra river, unique climate and liberal rainfall.
Darjeeling tea has a distinct astringency to its taste.
Astringency is also known as Briskness. Astringency or Briskness of tea refers to a tea’s ability to make your mouth pucker after the tea is sipped on. Darjeeling black Tea has musky-sweet tasting notes similar to muscat wine or apricot. Darjeeling Green tea have delicate vegetal, mossy, fruity, and citrus flavour.
Darjeeling black tea is exquisite and is a favourite among tea connoisseurs! Darjeeling is also called as the “champagne of teas” due to its flavour similar to that of a “delicate muscatel,” according to the Tea Board of India.
Assam Tea is famous for its smooth malty flavour.
“Malty” is the flavour profile of tea that tastes sweet and nutty, and is also described as tasting similar to toast, caramel or coffee. It sometimes tastes similar to fruits like raisins. All of this can be experienced in the tea with lighter strength, and prepared without any additives like milk, spices & sweeteners. “Assam” means ‘one without equal’ and that is really true about its teas.
HOW & WHERE TO USE
Darjeeling tea is extremely rich in antioxidants and has a beautiful full-bodied flavour that is palatable to most people. In comparison to Assam tea, which is dark amber in colour, Darjeeling tea has a bright hue or a light golden hue. Thus, Darjeeling tea leaves are perfect to be blended into fruity or flowery flavours. A plain black tea without any sweeteners or additives also makes for a delightful experience.
Assam Tea has a rich, dark-amber colour and is famous for its rich, full-bodied cup. Assam Tea is known for its brisk & strong character. This is exactly why Assam Tea is blended into classic English Breakfast Tea, to be had with your breakfast. It is because of its strength that it is said to be a perfect tea to wake up to!
The strong base and a brisk finish make this tea easy to blend and it also supports the addition of milk due to its strong flavour. Addition of milk and spices like ginger, cardamom, along with sweeteners makes Assam tea the most beloved blend for classic Masala Chai Popular in India.