Issue Date: May 15, 2011
Tea grown on the steep slopes of Darjeeling hills, connoisseurs swear, is unlike anywhere else in the world. Epicures use a plethora of adjectives to describe the “champagne of teas”: brisk, flowery, round, mellow and sparkling. Brewed properly, the Darjeeling tea leaves yield a thin-bodied, light-coloured liquor with a floral aroma and a musky spiciness leading tea connoisseurs to label a variety of the tea as muscatel. At the luxury Harrod’s store in London a muscatel retails at over Rs 9,000 a kg. The famed Makaibari gardens sell what the estate calls “the world’s most expensive tea—Silver Tips Imperial. Reputed to “cull one to celestial slumber”, it is priced at US $20 (Rs 900) for a 50 gm pack.