What Is So Special About Darjeeling Tea?

Medically Reviewed on 11/8/2022

How is Darjeeling different from other teas?

Darjeeling is a particular variety of the Camellia sinensis plant produced in India. The health benefits of Darjeeling include that it is rich in antioxidants, it provides energy, it is good for weight control, and it has other benefits.
Darjeeling is a particular variety of the Camellia sinensis plant produced in India. The health benefits of Darjeeling include that it is rich in antioxidants, it provides energy, it is good for weight control, and it has other benefits.

There are many types of teas that offer many different flavors, effects, and health benefits. Many teas, including black, white, green, oolong, and Darjeeling, actually come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. The differences among these teas have to do with the growth and processing methods used to produce them. 

Darjeeling, for example, is a particular variety of the Camellia sinensis plant produced in India. It has a unique flavor and a variety of health benefits.

Even though they come from the same species of plant, Darjeeling tea is distinct from black, white, green, or oolong tea because of where it is grown and how it is processed. Tea flavor can be intensely affected by its growth environment. For instance, part of what gives Darjeeling tea its distinctive flavor is actually an insect infestation of the plant that produces it. Attacks by insects such as jassids and thrips cause the plant to activate the chemical processes that give the tea its characteristic taste and scent. This flavor has been described as champagne-like, delicate and flowery, with hints of apricot or peach.

Much like true Champagne that must come from the Champagne region of France, true Darjeeling tea can only be acquired from the Darjeeling hills in India. In fact, only tea grown in this region can even be accurately labeled Darjeeling tea, according to the Darjeeling Planters Association, a union of tea growers that formed in 1892 to protect the cultivation of Darjeeling tea. Some high-end Darjeeling teas are labeled even more specifically according to the specific garden and season of their growth.

The Darjeeling hills region experiences unique environmental conditions, including gritty, thin, and acidic soil, high elevations, and thin, cool air that causes the leaves to mature more slowly. Although limiting production to this region means less tea is produced per year – only one percent of all of the tea grown in India is of the Darjeeling variety – the tea remains so highly coveted that even at the high prices necessary to account for demand and production costs, the entire crop sells out every year.

The name of both the tea and the region it comes from was chosen by Buddhist monks, who named it after a sacred ritual called Dorje, which symbolizes the central axis of the universe, including its constancy and eternal strength. 

The first Darjeeling teas were grown in 1835 in the private garden of a government official with seeds smuggled from China. Today, Darjeeling tea leaves are primarily picked by the local women and processed in factories by the men, a tradition that keeps entire families involved in the regional production of tea.

What are the health benefits of Darjeeling?

Many teas, including Darjeeling tea, provide health benefits to drinkers. Darjeeling:

Contains antioxidants. Teas, including Darjeeling, are rich in antioxidants, which help keep cells healthy and fight aging. This is because the caffeine in tea possesses antioxidative properties, in addition to antibacterial properties.

Provides energy. Darjeeling, like other varieties of black tea, contains caffeine, which provides a quick boost of energy in the morning or afternoon when you need a boost. Caffeine is known to make you more alert and focused, especially if you’re tired, so drinking some Darjeeling when you’re working on a complicated task might help you perform better. On the other hand, too much caffeine can be unhealthy, especially if it is consumed too late in the day. 

May prevent cancer. A study testing the effect of Darjeeling tea extract on bacterial cultures indicated that it possesses significant anti-cancer properties. This may be due to polyphenols, a type of micronutrient that includes antioxidants and flavonoids, which are present in the tea. They help prevent cell mutation and thus keep cancer cells from developing and growing. 

Is good for weight control. Studies have shown that the interactions between antioxidants and polyphenols in tea and the microbiome in the digestive system may help tea drinkers to lose or maintain weight. These compounds are shown to reduce the absorption of fat in the digestive system while also boosting metabolism to help burn fat and calories faster. 

The energy-producing effects of tea may also help you lose weight, as higher energy levels may encourage you to be more active during the day, promoting more calorie and fat burning.

May improve mental health. Compounds in tea such as L-theanine and catechins have been shown to have antidepressant properties. Studies show that these compounds promote dopamine production in the brain, leading to improvements in mood. 

Even the scent of Darjeeling tea is able to reduce stress. A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology tested participants’ responses to stressful tasks with and without the inhaled aroma of Darjeeling tea, discovering that the smell correlated with reduced stress levels and improved moods during the tasks.


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

What are the negative effects of Darjeeling?

Although there are many benefits of drinking Darjeeling tea, there are also some negative effects, especially if you drink too much. Moderation, as with anything, is key.

High in caffeine. Although caffeine provides energy and antioxidants, too much can be a problem, especially in the evenings. Excessive caffeine use can interrupt your sleep, cause anxiety and palpitations, and give you jitters. Overuse of caffeine may also contribute to cancer growth and reproductive health problems.

May affect digestion. Tannins found in many teas, including Darjeeling and other black teas, have been shown to slow down your body’s ability to absorb iron. Too much tea can also cause nausea or digestive issues such as constipation.

Overall, tea is a popular beverage because of its delicious flavor and many health benefits. All things are best in moderation, however, and drinking too much can have negative effects as well. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist about the amount and variety of tea that would be most beneficial for you.

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Medically Reviewed on 11/8/2022

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Darjeeling Planters Association

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