Darjeeling tour has many wonderful things to offer – whether you are tea connoisseur, tea lover, or just nature lover it doesn’t matter.
Here, I have compiled a list of 7 best tea gardens of Darjeeling where anyone can take the tea tasting experience during Darjeeling tour.
If you wanna have some wonderful moment with your own inner self in the most tranquil environment far away from the hustle-bustle of city life forgeting your routine 9 to 6 busy work schedule, if you love nature and wanna explore more, visit Darjeeling!
Any why to choose tea testing experience tour instead many other customized tour packages?
Just get going with this post to explore more.
The old world order
Darjeeling Tea is one of the finest black teas in the world. 150 years ago, when India was ruled by the British, a civil surgeon from England first planted seeds in his garden, somewhere in Darjeeling.
This tea connoisseur had absolutely no idea that this small act of his would pave the way for this little-known land to become one of the most famous tea-making regions of the world.
In the following years, in 1852 to be precise, the tea-loving British got together to take random acts of impulsive tea-growing a commercial spin.
Thus they began the first commercial production of tea in Darjeeling with Takvar – the first tea plantation set-up during that time.
The new world order
Darjeeling is taking the lead in this relatively new concept. After all, Darjeeling is the Mecca of tea. It is full of sprawling estates producing what we know as the “Champagne of Teas”. Where planters and workers come together to form a wonderland. Where tea grows in its finest form.
Why ‘Darjeeling Tea’ is not just a Tea
But, an experience.
Imagine you are spending a few days high on the hills with the cool breeze and misty weather–surrounded by acres and acres of undulating tea gardens.
You wake up in a colonial Bungalow with large spacious rooms, high ceilings, a crackling fireplace. And an old world bathtub – all in Victorian style.
It’s early morning and you sip a cup of the finest aromatic tea, plucked fresh from the gardens sitting on an English porch. As the mist clears slowly, you take a deep breath of the cool mountain air.
You take a leisurely stroll through the narrow lanes of the hill slope. And you stop to smell a dew-laden tea leaf. You talk to the garden workers and see how they deftly pluck the two leaves and a bud. And you listen as they share titbits about their life and culture.
Also you get the invitation to experience the tea-making process. Where some of the best teas in the world are withered, rolled, dried, sorted and packaged.
How much better can it get for a tea connoisseur like you?
Lots of workers go to produce this world-famous flavor
Tea production is a labor-intensive process, especially at the time of plucking the leaves. It requires skilled manipulation of the fingers for plucking ‘two leaves and a bud’ at a time. Owing to this, more than 50 thousand people are employed here. The total area under cultivation for Darjeeling Tea is around 19,000 hectares with an annual production of 10 million tonnes.
The flush of Darjeeling Tea
There is four major flush of tea in Darjeeling. The first flush starts from mid-March and lasts until April. The second flush starts from May and goes on till June. Monsoon Flush is the one from July and September. Autumnal Flush takes place from October to November. It’s the last tea season of the year.
Of course, the time period is not fixed and some variation happens to owe to the weather. Sometimes, earlier than expected rainfall can shorten the duration of the first flush while increasing the rain flush by a few weeks and vice versa.
Same plant, different flavors
Get the rich experience of different flavors of the same plant during your next Darjeeling tour as a tea tourist.
The First Flush Tea: The leaves have a floral scent with a lively character. The color of the liquor is light and clear. The First Flush Tea is produced in less quantity. It is considered to be expensive due to its bright liquor and lively character.
The Second Flush Tea: The tea leaves have a purplish bloom and come with a fruity taste. The color of the tea is dark and has a strong flavor. To be precise, the taste has a muscatel grape flavor and an amber hue. This taste is a reaction of the plant to small insects that suck juices from its stems.
Monsoon Flush: Teas of this Flush are more oxidized. The Monsoon Flush teas are suitable as a base tea for blended tea brands. The color of this tea is dark and the taste is strong.
Autumnal Flush: It has a delicate as well as a sparkling character. The tea is dark or coppery with a texture that is full-bodied, with a light flavor.
Darjeeling tour: explore more
Due to the popularity and demand for Darjeeling Tea around the world, the number of tea estates has multiplied rapidly. Currently, there are around a 100 tea gardens producing the famous “Darjeeling Tea.”
It is the taste, aroma, and flavor of Darjeeling tea that takes the pride of place in the hearts of tea connoisseurs around the world.
7 best tea gardens for tea tasting experience Darjeeling tour
1. The Glenburn Tea Garden
It was a Scottish Tea Company that started the oldest Tea estate of Darjeeling, in the year 1860. The Glenburn Tea Garden is perched on a slope at an altitude of 3700 feet; spread over 1600 acres of land.
The garden offers a breathtaking view of Mt. Kanchenjunga in the distance. The river Rangit and Rong Dong are passing through it.
The Glenburn Estate is so huge that it has its own forest along the riverside. It is an absolute haven for nature lovers. It is a must visit tea garden during your Darjeeling tour. More than 100 species of Himalayan Birds including common animals like deer, civet, cat, wild boar and leopard are found here.
The garden famously offers many attractive excursions to indulge in – from short and long day hikes through forests and villages to camping in the Rangeet river, rafting in the Tista River.
The tea garden tours include visiting tea processing and plucking, tea tasting and birding. And of course an old world feeling of staying at the heritage Burra Bungalow. There, you get the opportunity to sip aromatic tea and taste delicious cuisine.
At the magnificent Burra Bungalow, one has the choice of staying at any of the eight grand suites named after the many attractions of the region.
The century-old furnitures are made from Spanish mahogany. The bathroom with its hand-held shower and old-fashioned bathtub all are hark back to the heritage of colonial Raj.
Glenburn also has a campsite with two bedroom log cabin on the river Rangeet for the more adventure seekers.
2. Ghoomtee Tea Estate
Conveniently located near Kurseong on Hillcart Road, en route to Darjeeling, the Ghoomtee Tea Garden is famous for producing one of the finest orthodox teas. Set amidst picturesque surroundings, the estate is totally organic without the use of any pesticides and chemicals. It is one of the best tea gardens for tea tasting experience Darjeeling tour.
Be it the serene ambiance, the Victorian style of Architecture or the sprawling beauty of the land, the century-old British colonial bungalow is just ideal for the perfect getaway. What’s more, the surrounding view from this heritage bungalow will charm the heart of any nature lover.
Set at an altitude of 4100 feet, the place offers a sweeping view of lush, green mountains and valleys. Temperatures between 7 degrees and 18 degrees, the advantage of accessibility from Kurseong, Darjeeling, and Siliguri make it the ideal retreat throughout the year.
Popular activities for tea connoisseurs and tea tourists include guided garden tours – where you get a firsthand experience of tea plucking, tea processing, and tea tasting. Other activities are birding, nature walk, picnics, City excursion, Gurkha Cultural Dance show etc.
3. Makaibari Tea Estate
Cradled in the lap of the Himalayas–Makaibari is located at Kurseong – the land of the white orchid. Makaibari translates literally to Maize Land. In 1859, this magical land saw the development of the now fabled Tea Estate – the best in the world.
Myths and legends abound about Makaibari – its six-tier forest – the best form of Permaculture with a host of wild animals and birds. No wonder Makaibari Tea Estate was certified as the first Biodynamic Garden in the world.
In the year 1996, Makaibari became famous when it sold its best quality tea called Silver Tip Leaf at a record price of 400$ per kg. This tea is plucked on a full moon night (the name seems to come from here) by the best women pluckers.
Makaibari’s Stone House is known for comfortable living with four bedrooms, a spacious living room complete with cozy sitting arrangements, including an iron-and-burnt clay fireplace. Experience your best stay at this Bungalow during your next darjeeling tour.
4. Salem Hill Tea Estate
This garden produces one of the finest qualities of orthodox tea and is regarded as one of the few Biodynamic gardens in the world. The wooden and stone bungalow right in the middle of the tea garden stands testimony to over 150 years of tea gardening.
The bungalow is perched on a hill slope with a mesmerizing view of the river valleys of Balason and Tista, along with a glimpse of the Kanchenjunga Massif over the town of Kurseong. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the sunrise and sunset in this great place during your Darjeeling tour.
The tea estate also serves as a study center for tea processing and for conducting experiments into groundbreaking tea production methods. Apart from tea connoisseurs for whom there is the opportunity of experiencing the magic of tea plucking, tea processing, and tea testing.
Other popular activities- Take short forest and village hikes and birding. Experience a joyride in the 150 years old Darjeeling Himalayan Railway from Tindharia and Gayabari.
5. Phaskowa Tea Estate
Plantation at the Phaskowa Tea Estate was started by the British Tea Company called Duncan Brothers in the year 1897 as a division of Newlands Tea Estate. The estate was bought by the Chamarias, the current owners, in the year 1967.
The Phaskowa Tea Estate has a sprawling 650-acre land stretching from the Buxa Tiger Reserve right till the river Rydak. The specialty of staying here is the old colonial Raj era bungalow. Here you can have unique experiences in the wildlife sanctuaries, sub-Himalayan treks and acres of tea plantations. The Phaskowa Tea estate offers the weary soul, an immersive experience that are sure to be cherished for a lifetime.
The estate now produces one of the best quality CTC and orthodox teas in Dooars under the expert care of the present owners. The Phaskowa Tea Estate has forests that are a bird watcher’s paradise and is the natural home of the Asiatic Elephant.
It is normal for someone to witness a herd of elephants or a Royal Bengal Tiger or a leopard at the Buxa Tiger Reserve. The flora and fauna, the gurgling streams all add to the amazing biodiversity of the estate.
6. Takdah Tea Estate
Situated around 27 km from Darjeeling, Takdah is reminiscent of the British Raj and is known for its verdant greenery and undulating tea gardens. Takdah is a major tea-making estate and popular for tea tourism in Darjeeling.
During British rule, Takdah served as a prominent Cantonment area and was known for its tea plantation. For anyone wanting to experience the grandeur of the colonial era, there can be no better place than Takdah.
The heritage bungalows are located right in the middle of the virgin beauty of the tea gardens all around. Experience nature’s wilderness in all its glory when staying at these century-old but well-maintained heritage bungalows. Of a lot of bungalows, 12 are famous for hosting tourists throughout the year.
The well-known tea estates of Takdah include Runglee Rungliot, Takdah Tea Estate, Gielle, and Namring. Apart from the sightseeing and nature walks to get a feel of the village life, visit Dokan Dara – the epicenter of the village trade and fair. Visit the Orchid Centre and the Chagporti Tibetian Medical Institute to get an insight into the local culture during your Darjeeling tour.
7. Sourenee Tea Estate
Located in the picturesque Mirik Valley of Darjeeling district and perched at an altitude of 700m to 1300m. Sourenee is a unique experience for tea tourism. It is the ideal estate to witness the art of plucking tea leaves and processing high-quality tea during your Darjeeling tour.
This 100 years old estate has over the years yielded quality teas popular amongst the tea lovers all over the world. Here, the old tea shrubs are systematically replaced with new clone plants. This method improves the productivity and enhance the quality of the teas.
Darjeeling Tea cannot be grown in any other part of the world because of its favorable climate and the indigenous character of its soil and environment. It is this equity that was sought to be protected by the Tea Board and the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India and under the TRIPS Agreement of the WTO.
Sourenee Tea Estate has successfully completed the Organic Certification Process under the guidance and supervision of internationally acclaimed certification authority Control Union Certifications (earlier known as SKAL)in order to satisfy the need and preference of the growing fraternity of health-conscious tea drinkers.
Sourenee Tea Estate is also now HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point) certified by DNV, an International Body for Certification.
So, get set go to Darjeeling to explore more about tea and the nature in your next vaccation. And let me know your feelings about Darjeeling and your tea tasting experience Darjeeling tour.