After China, India is the second largest tea producer in the world. Every year, around 12,000 tons are supplied to Germany alone. Especially the Assam and Darjeeling regions are known far beyond the country’s borders for their black tea. However, the two names signify not only popular tea varieties but also exciting histories, varied landscapes and caring people.
Join us on a voyage of discovery to Darjeeling and Assam – and we’ll share with you what else these regions have to offer besides tea.
At the foot of the Himalayas, in the middle of tea plantations, terraced rice fields and mountain rivers, at an altitude of around 2,100 metres, you’ll find the city of Darjeeling, home of black teas such as PREMIUM DARJEELING by Avoury. “Queen of the Hills”, as Darjeeling is also called, is especially known for its breathtaking view of snow-covered mountain chains, but it is also home to a large variety of flora and fauna. You can find up to 4,000 different plant types, such as rhododendrons, magnolias, orchids and 300 different fern types here, but also red pandas, leopards and elephants. In and amongst Darjeeling’s modern buildings, there are still traces of its colonial past. The city oozes youthful, vibrant flair, making it a popular travel destination. Indian nationals love to spend their holidays in the cool mountains, while tourists often use the city as a starting point for excursions into the Himalaya Mountains.
The population of Darjeeling is made up of diverse people from different countries of origin, cultures and religions, and is characterised by a special kind of warmth and openness, also shown to travellers. A large part of the population has Nepalese roots, because in days gone by many workers came to the region from Nepal and then made it their home. Other inhabitants of the city are from Tibet or India.
Now primarily known as a tea growing area, Darjeeling was originally developed as a sanatorium by the British. Only from 1840 onwards, the English colonial rulers of the region turned it into one of the most important tea growing areas in the world. Today, the roughly 90 tea gardens employ tens of thousands of workers, who produce around 10 million tons of tea every year. Despite the fact that tourism plays a key role, tea remains the most important source of income for the region – more than half the population works in the tea sector.
Although green, white and oolong tea are now also produced – the region primarily remains known for its typical black tea. The combination of slope, soil composition and mist, the cool Himalayas breeze and the precipitation conditions ensure the unique taste of famous Darjeeling tea. Elegant, full-bodied and slightly nutty: black teas such as PREMIUM DARJEELING by Avoury impress with their nuanced, complex aromas. To really enjoy the exquisite taste, all you need is a few squirts of lemon or a touch of something sweet. Ideally, the tea should be enjoyed in its pure form to experience the aromas in all their diversity. It is not without reason that Darjeeling is one of the most expensive tea varieties and is known as the champagne among teas by aficionados.
When in Darjeeling, tourists can also sample black tea as part of tea tours or tea tastings. A tasting session includes various tea samples paired with snacks while experts explain the relevant differences in flavour or mouthfeel and offer tips on perfect brewing times or temperatures – great insider knowledge for bragging at home.
Avoury One users enjoy this knowledge as part of the package: because the tea machine brews every tea variety to perfection at the push of a button. The tea machine adjusts the temperature and brewing time precisely to the specific requirements of each variety. Its innovative brewing chamber gives the tea time to freely develop its flavours and delicate nuances.
Also in the north-east of India, but around 450 kilometres from Darjeeling, is another world-famous tea growing area:
Assam. The Indian state of Assam stretches across an area of almost 80,000 square kilometres and is home to around 31 million people.
Some live in picturesque villages set among the hills and others in modern, vibrant cities. Just like Darjeeling, Assam is full of contrasts – be it in terms of different cultures or when it comes to diverse landscapes. This diversity is even reflected in the name: the word Assam is derived from “asoma”, which means “unparalleled” in Sanskrit. The different influences also characterise the Assamese cuisine, a combination of local and foreign specialities.
These are mostly simple, fresh and beautifully spiced dishes, but a much milder version of those typical in other parts of India. Not surprisingly, rice is a staple here too and is mainly used in curry dishes. A regional speciality that is less well-known is “pitha”, a very thin crêpe filled with a sweet paste made from coconut or black sesame.
Besides cultural and culinary impressions, it’s primarily Assam’s untouched, pristine nature that takes travellers’ breath away. If you wanted to describe Assam using one colour, it would probably be green: around 34 percent of the landscape is covered with dense tropical forests, and even in the higher altitudes you’ll find evergreen trees. The appearance of the emerald green landscape is dominated by the mighty Brahmaputra river, which seems to wind endlessly through a valley at the foot of the Himalayas. A highlight for nature lovers is the Kaziranga National Park, designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1985.
A tropical idyll stretching across an area half the size of Berlin is covered with rice fields, ponds and palms as well as banana trees, bamboo grooves and huge rain trees. In addition to water buffalo, elephants, Bengal tigers and swamp deer, it is home to the rare Indian one-horned rhinoceros, which is almost or already extinct in many areas.
Despite its diversity, in this part of the world, we mainly associate Assam with a delicious cup of tea. The history of famous Assam tea dates back to 1823 when a Scottish traveller watched members of the Singpho tribe make tea from the leaves of wild tea bushes. This was remarkable because in those days everybody still assumed that tea only grew in China or Japan. In the early 1830s, however, the Calcutta Botanical Garden confirmed that these wild tea bushes were a subspecies of the well-known Camelia sinensis tea plant. Tea gardeners and tea seeds were then brought from China to Assam and in 1838 the first tea bush was planted.
Two centuries later, Assam is now the most important tea growing region in India – and is considered the largest contiguous tea growing area in the world. While tea from nearby Darjeeling falls more into the premium segment and is lightly full-bodied on the palate, STRONG ASSAM by Avoury is characterised by malty, spicy aromas. Thanks to its invigorating, strong taste, Assam tea makes for a perfect caffeine boost. And if you like it a little smoother – in British style – just add a shot of milk.
But especially when Assam tea is brewed to perfection it is also delicious in its pure form. No wonder, then, that it’s so popular – from India to Germany.