Darjeeling and Assam: A Look Into Black Tea

Gabrielle Jammal
Former Tea Sommelier | Baccarat Hotel, New York

In India, a fine tea is much like a fine wine, delicately produced with care to create an exquisite taste, and an exquisite drinking experience. Tea in India is considered as more than just a light cup in the morning to accompany breakfast, or a midday pick-me-up. There, tea is an everyday lifestyle, a sweet ritual of tasteful splendor, a gentle love language of coming together.

With such a tradition comes an equally flavorful history, even though the beverage was only introduced to the country not long ago during British colonization. Even so, India has quickly become one of the largest producers of tea in the world, with two specific blends taking the center stage - Darjeeling tea and Assam tea.


Tea enthusiasts around the world have certainly heard, if not had a steaming cup, of the luxurious Darjeeling tea and Assam tea. Similar to fine French wines like Bordeaux and Burgundy, these teas are named after the lush regions they reign from, and are just as unique and distinct from one another.

Assam tea is a black tea indigenous to the lowlands of Assam, a region on the eastern side of India running along the Brahmaputra River. It is cultivated from the native Camellia Sinensis var. Assamica tea plant that grows abundantly in the region’s subtropical climate. Famous for its bold notes of tobacco, malt and chocolate, Assam tea is the most popular black breakfast tea that is paired with milk and sugar. Unknown to many, most breakfast teas in fact actually consist of Assam tea in their blends, relying on it for its strong and full-bodied flavor.

The other most well-known tea from India is Darjeeling tea. Famously termed the “champagne of teas,” Darjeeling tea hails from the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas, where the teas are actually a blend of native and Chinese tea varieties. Unlike Assam tea, Darjeeling interestingly has four harvests, called “flushes,” that begin in the springtime. Each flush is distinctly different from one another, the second flush being the most notable for its bold muscatel grape flavors often associated with teas from this region. These teas tend to be lighter than their Assamese cousin, and were traditionally served in the afternoon.

However, the first flush of Darjeeling tea is also gaining traction in the tea world for the unique qualities produced. This flush is especially interesting, as it produces a black tea that is processed like a white tea, and looks more like a green tea! With beautiful notes of herbs and toast, this Darjeeling tea should be brewed with the utmost care, so as to not become too bitter. It should be noted, the Darjeeling tea is traditionally not served with milk like the Assam tea, but rather served as is with perhaps some sugar for added sweetness.

At Brook37, sourcing is of the utmost importance. We are a luxury tea brand like no other, offering our customers with an unparalleled selection of flavors, aromas and blends from the luscious gardens of the Darjeeling and Assam regions. Our tea is handpicked and sourced directly from tea gardeners without any middlemen, providing you with an authentic farm-to-cup experience with every sip, and a promise of the highest quality and most fresh blends. We invite you to sit back with a steaming cup of one of our black tea blends, and enjoy the rich flavors of India’s famous Darjeeling and Assam teas.

I can vouch for the high quality of Brook37 Darjeeling teas. It was really a pleasure to experience the teas.

Aditi D

Darjeeling First Flush

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