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Is Darjeeling tea from Darjeeling?

Sounds odd? Darjeeling tea is from Darjeeling! From where else?

Since 2011 Darjeeling tea is registered in the European Union as PGI (Protected Geographical Indication). This means: a tea that´s labelled as Darjeeling tea has to be from a clearly defined highland area of the District of Darjeeling in the State of West Bengal, India, where all this fantastic tea is growing. This has been over a long period of time in many cases unforunately not case.

Both now a logo (which you can find e.g. on all our labels) as well as the word “Darjeeling” are registered under the Geographical Indications of Goods Act of 1999 of India. A packet that´s labelled as Darjeeling tea (to answer the title-question) has to be filled with 100% tea from the protected area. For those who legally blended Darjeeling with other cheaper teas and sold it as Darjeeling, the European Union guaranteed a transition time of 5 years. (PS: I wonder why such a long period!?)

As you can find more information about the Geographical Indication of Darjeeling tea on our website, including links to relevant articles, I only would like to mention an article, recently published in The Economic Times. The article is titled "Europe buys more Darjeeling tea in 2015" and refers indirectly to the fact that the large European tea-importers, especially those in Germany, refused to buy respectively reduced drastically their purchases of the now origin-proteced tea, as blending is (after the transition time) not more allowed, and their Darjeeling-teas consequently would be more expensive.

Instead, they searched for cheaper Darjeeling substitutes (e.g. in Nepal). But quite obviously their search was not too successful (why not, opens the way for speculations, but taste and quantity might have played their role) - otherwise it would not be explainable why they increase - according to the "The Economic Times" - their purchases in 2015.

Do these large importers cope with the GI? I hope so! It helps the producers in many ways, but also the consumers who will have, starting 2016, the real taste of Darjeeling on their palates - instead that of the many "Darjeelings" which were blended for so many decades with inferior teas!

Dr. Hans-Juergen Langenbahn
Dr. Hans-Juergen Langenbahn


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