Bengali Bites: Darjeeling tea


Morgan Kong

Wingspan’s Ananda Ghoshal delves deeper into the world of Bengali food and shares her thoughts.

Ananda Ghoshal, Staff Reporter

I will be completely honest, when I think of West Bengal, only two places pop into mind: Kolkata and Darjeeling. While some people may know about Kolkata already, fewer people know about Darjeeling, another prominent city. It is especially famous for the black tea grown there. 

However, in more recent times some of the leaves grown there are being processed as not only black tea leaves but also green, white, and oolong teas. Another thing to note is that Darjeeling Tea shows some of the highest amounts of antioxidants, which along with its musky smell puts it higher up on its pedestal. Maybe that’s why my mom used to force-feed it to me when I got sick; I can’t complain, my illnesses lasted two days maximum.

Compared to Assam Tea, which is best suited for drinking with milk and sugar, Darjeeling Tea is best on its own. It is slightly spicier than Assam Tea, and it has a slightly citrus taste which makes it all the more refreshing. Every time my family visits West Bengal, although we do not go to Darjeeling, we still pick up the leaves to bring back from many distributors. We make it last as long as we can and even refer to it as our “fancy tea”.

Especially during these times where we cannot travel due to COVID-19, I began drinking it a bit more, basking in the nostalgia of being with my relatives again. Because it lacks a bitter taste, I drink it in the morning or mid-morning. The fact that you do not need to add sugar to enjoy this makes it even more satisfying. 

As Navaratri approaches a closing, I think about how I cannot be with my family to celebrate with them, so drinking this tea in a way makes me feel closer to them.