The Legend of Darjeeling

rungneetwild

Legend says winter comes from the hands of Chys Khan, the master of the cold. It is passed from his hands to those of Father Christmas, who is responsible for distributing it throughout the rest of Europe. Both have a white beard, but Chys Khan is wrapped up even warmer. He ‘lives’ in the coldest inhabited region on the planet, in the Sakha Republic, Siberia. Although several towns contend for this honor, the -71.2 °C recorded at Oymyakon back in 1924 place it first on the world thermometer (or last, depending on how you look at it). It is located 750m above sea level, in a valley. This causes the air coming from the mountains to get ‘stuck’ there and make it even colder.

This “stuck” word is parallel to the “trapped” cold winds of high peaks of the Kanchenjunga Himalayas which after getting reflected when hot air coming from Gangetic plains of central India, gives the unique flavor compounds to those Darjeeling teas which are rarest of rare in the world.

A coincidental introduction of Chinery tea bushes in Darjeeling during the 1850s when local Assamese tea bushes were being planted in the plains of Assam made the contrast in quality so evident that to date “China” is suffixed to Darjeeling leaf grades to identify its better flavor and cup. A good summary of this phenomenon was made in a write-up by AC Cargill some time back, and we found that the long-abandoned multi-stammer China bushes have failed to grow high like single stammer Assam trees found in the mountains of Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, China. Thick cell sap found in the un-plucked leaves of these China bushes is so extraordinary that Jeff Fuchs could not control himself and shot many close-ups and sent Alexey Sebekin to Rungneet to study the potential of this rare 2017 crop which will be harvested soon. A crop that Dan Robertson will be checking soon this coming April for the members of International Tea Cuppers Club and his shows the world over.

Cold is the key to Himalayan teas, be it Darjeeling, Nepal, Kangra or Sikkim. Cultivars play the role and this added with altitude, aspect, location and soil make up the world of Darjeeling flavors.

Article by Rajiv Lochan, Lochan Teas

About Janice and Stephen Shelton

Purveyors of Premium Teas
This entry was posted in Darjeeling Teas, Exploring Various Teas, Tea Info for Newbies and Up and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s