The Geographical Indication was introduced in the food-sector to protect the name and quality of a clearly defined product which is produced in a specific geographical region. Two classic examples are Roquefort cheese and Champagne. Only cheese made from milk of the Manech-, Basco-Béarnaise- and Lacaune- breeds of sheep and matured in caves near Roquefort-sur-Soulzon in France under the influence of the Penicillium roqueforti fungus can be labeled as "Roquefort"; and only the sparkling wine from the French region of the Champagne that has been produced along strictly defined rules may be called as "Champagne".
The same applies for Darjeeling tea. Its unique quality is a result of its specific terroir (i.e. its natural "micro-conditions"), it`s high altitude (the intense UV-light results in a high production of antioxidants) as well as its elaborated processing methods. Darjeeling Tea has its own, unmistakable flavour. It is this flavour that has made it one of the world´s most famous teas.
"Darjeeling" is unfortunately to often not Darjeeling. There are still traders or producers from other regions who blend Darjeeling teas with lower grade teas, but label and sell the product as "Darjeeling". The Tea Board of India estimates that up to 40,000 tons of tea a year are sold as "Darjeeling" worldwide. However, the annual amount produced in Darjeeling is only 10,000 tons! To protect the genuineness of Darjeeling, the Tea Board of India has developed a unique Darjeeling logo as a seal of authenticity. Only companies selling 100% pure Darjeeling tea are awarded the use of this logo.
• 1986 – The DARJEELING Logo created and registered in UK, USA, Canada, Japan, Egypt and under the Madrid Agreement covering Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland and former Yugoslavia
• 1999 – Darjeeling Certified Trademark Protection Scheme
• 2004 – DARJEELING TEA registered as Geographical Indication as Sl. No. 1 & 2
(Source: Darjeeling Tea - A Geographical Indication (GI). Darjeeling Tea Association, page 24)