India is one of the largest producers of tea in the world. There are three major regions in the country that are involved tea production. They are the famous Assam and Darjeeling and Nilgiris.
Both Assam and Darjeeling tea’s are famous but there is always a debate as which is better.
Therefore, we break down the
Differences between Assam tea and Darjeeling Tea
The first major difference between the two is that teas from Assam are of the Camellia sinensis var. assamica while the teas in Darjeeling are of the Camellia sinensis var. sinensis.
The second major difference is in the processing. Most Assam teas are processed as black teas. Full oxidation is allowed to occur.
Darjeeling teas are traditionally processed as ‘black teas’ but even then were never allowed to fully oxidise, so that the so called Darjeeling black tea shares many characteristics with oolong teas, which are also semi oxidised.
The tea growing regions of Darjeeling is located high in the foothills of the Himalayas, while in Assam, the tea is cultivated on lowlands
Lastly, a number of farms in Darjeeling have started to produce white and oolong teas rather than the usual black teas.
These two differences result in the stark contrast between a cup of Assam tea and a cup of Darjeeling tea (even if they are both processed as black teas).
Assam teas are generally darker in their dry leaf. They are well known for their robust malty flavour, yield a darker brew, and are kind of like ‘comfort drinks’.
When wet, the leaves are almost completely brown. Although Assam teas are from the assamica variety which has much larger leaves, the dry leaf does not show larger leaves due to the CTC processing used by Indian farms.
Darjeeling tea is expensive as compared to Assam tea .
Darjeeling teas are prized for their floral and fruity muscatel scent/flavour, are much more delicate and require a gentler brewing. They show up as greenish in their dry leaf state and stay fairly green in their wet leaf state.
Darjeeling tea is slightly spicier than Assam tea.
Assam tea, on the other hand, tastes best with milk and sugar.