Posts from 2016-01

Darjeeling “The Champagne of Teas”

Because of its unique flavor and qualities, Darjeeling tea is universally acknowledged to be the finest of all teas. Sometimes called the “queen of teas” or “champagne of teas,” Darjeeling is grown and manufactured only in the Darjeeling district in West Bengal, India.  Situated in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, at altitudes of up to 4000 feet above sea level, this region offers the perfect climate for tea.  The hills of Darjeeling are home to the most expensive teas in the world.

Darjeeling tea has been harvested since the 1840′s and was commercially developed by the British in the 1850′s.  It has maintained its high standard for 160 years and is exclusively hand-picked.  Proper plucking of Darjeeling tea is as unique as its flavor.  The smallest and most tender shoots, comprised of two new leaves and a bud, are gently plucked by quick skillful hands.  It takes about 22,000 shoots to make one kilogram or a little over two pounds of tea. Pluckers must battle steep terrain, cold, mist and heavy rainfall to complete each picking, and all of these conditions factor in to the high price that some Darjeeling teas can bring.

How amazing that so many different qualities and characteristics can describe tea from the very same plants depending on the climate and season!  Darjeeling tea cannot be manufactured anywhere else in the world, similar to Champagne in that region of France.  In fact, tea without Darjeeling would be like wine without the prestige of Champagne.  It is the standard to which all other teas strive.  Enjoy a cup today!

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Tea Moods of India

Check out this video clip from Tea Board of India

How many servings can you expect to get from a pound of loose tea?

The answer depends on several factors: the type of tea, how much tea you use, how big a “serving” is and how many times you infuse the tea.   As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to get 200 – 8 Oz servings from one pound of tea, infusing it only once.   However, since most loose teas can be infused up to 3 (or more) times, you can get up to 600 servings per pound.   White, Yellow and Green Teas and Herbal Tisanes, however, are usually infused only once or twice, so you’ll get just 200 servings per pound.

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Loose Tea vs. Teabags

Teabag tea is made with very small pieces of tea – called “Fannings & Dust.” Because of their miniscule size, the tea pieces in a commercial teabag release all of their tannins and flavor at once.   This can result in a bitter brew if allowed to steep for more than a minute or two.   Conversely, Loose-Leaf Tea is made from either large pieces or whole-leaf teas.   These allow the tannins and flavors to be released slowly, and in a controlled manner.


You can only get one cup (or pot) of tea from teabags, but you can get up to four cups (or pots) from an equal amount of loose tea.   Loose tea is also more environmentally friendly – you don’t have the box, the box liner, the paper or foil wrappers, the bag, string, staple & tag to dispose of.   When you’re finished brewing a pot of loose-leaf tea, you can take the spent leaves and dump them on your garden, yard, flower or herb pots, or compost heap.   They bio-degrade and help to replenish the soil.   Of course, if you don’t have a garden, yard or flower pots, you can dump them down the drain, or dispose of them in the trash, where they will also bio-degrade.


And finally, when you factor in the fact that you’re not paying for expensive packaging (it actually costs more than the tea!), and that you can get multiple cups or pots out of loose tea, it turns out that most Loose-Leaf teas are actually cheaper per serving than teabag teas!

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T Ching posts Pahadi tea reviews

Pahadi appreciates the time taken by expert tea reviewers at T Ching, a respected tea review blog site, and write reviews on our teas.


A complete review can be found here.


Tony Nunez of T Ching reviewed following teas from Pahadi Tea.

  • Organic Whole Leaf Green Tea
  • Mountain Mist Tea
  • Winter Comfort Tea

Thank you, Tony and T Ching!

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What determines the price of tea?

Price of the tea is determined by several factors, such as type of the tea (Black, green, white, Oolong, etc.), region (such as Darjeeling, Assam, Ceylon, China, Japan, etc.), and tea leaf grade (such as whole leaf, fannings, tea dust, etc.).

In the Tea industry, tea leaf grading is the process of evaluating products based on the quality and condition of the tea leaves themselves. The highest grades are referred to as “orange pekoe”, and the lowest as “fannings” or “dust”.

But good tea—the equivalent of a scarlet, bursting-with-juice tomato still warm from the garden—usually comes from smaller farms that hold their production methods to higher standards. With small farm size comes greater control over your plants, more regional distinctions in tea varieties, and more precise processing. It also means higher costs at every step along the way.

At Pahadi, we bring you the finest, premium quality whole leaf tea from the most exclusive part of world, primarily from Darjeeling and Assam. Many shops do not disclose openly the tea source, but at Pahadi you can be assured about the tea (except for the herbal tea) source at the time of purchase since it is mentioned on our website.

Tea is the most affordable luxury in the world. But at first glance it may seem expensive. A tea that costs $100.00 per pound only costs 50 cents per cup when brewed. A pound of tea will typically yield 200 cups (vs. 40-50 cups from a pound of coffee).

Also, many of the teas in our collection will yield as many as 4-6 infusions from the same leaves (particularly oolongs and greens). For many teas, those later infusions yield the most interesting flavors. Since most of the caffeine is released in the first infusion, this is also a way to reduce the caffeine content.

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Tea Leaf Grades

Grade terminology

  • Choppycontains many leaves of various sizes.
  • Fannings:are small particles of tea leaves used almost exclusively in tea bags.
  • Flowery:consists of large leaves, typically plucked in the second or third flush with an abundance of tips.
  • Golden Flowery:includes very young tips or buds (usually golden in color) that were picked early in the season.
  • Tippy:includes an abundance of tips.

Whole leaf grades

The grades for whole leaf orthodox black tea are:

  • OP1—slightly delicate, long, wiry leaf with the light liquor
  • OPA—bold, long leaf tea which ranges from tightly wound to almost open
  • OP—main grade, in the middle between OP1 and OPA, can consist of long wiry leaf without tips
  • OP Superior—primarily from Indonesia, similar to OP
  • Flowery OP—high-quality tea with a long leaf and few tips, considered the second grade in Assam, Dooars, and Bangladesh teas, but the first grade in China
  • F OP1—as above, but with only the highest quality leaves in the FOP classification
  • Golden Flowery OP1—higher proportion of tip than FOP top grade in Milima and Marinyn regions, uncommon in Assam and Darjeeling
  • Tippy Golden F OP—the highest proportion of tip, main grade in Darjeeling and Assam
  • TGF OP1—as above, but with only the highest quality leaves in the TGFOP classification
  • Finest TGF OP—highest quality grade (Note: “Special” is occasionally substituted for “Finest”, with a number 1 at the end to indicate the very finest), often hand processed and produced at only the best plantations, roughly one quarter tips
  • SFTGFOP(1)—sometimes used to indicate the very finest

A joke among tea aficionados is that “FTGFOP” stands for “Far Too Good For Ordinary People”.

Broken leaf grades

BT—Broken Tea: Usually a black, open, fleshy leaf that is very bulky. Classification used in Sumatra, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and some parts of Southern India.

  • BP—Broken Pekoe: Most common broken pekoe grade. From Indonesia, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Assam and Southern India.
  • BPS—Broken Pekoe Souchong: Term for broken pekoe in Assam and Darjeeling.
  • FP—Flowery Pekoe: High-quality pekoe. Usually coarser with a fleshier, broken leaf. Produced in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Southern India, as well as in some parts of Kenya.
  • BOP—Broken Orange Pekoe: Main broken grade. Prevalent in Assam, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Southern India, Java, and China.
  • F BOP—Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe: Coarser and broken with some tips. From Assam, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Indonesia, China, and Bangladesh. In South America coarser, black broken.
  • F BOP F—Finest Broken Orange Pekoe Flowery: The finest broken orange pekoe. Higher proportion of tips. Mainly from Ceylon’s “low districts”.
  • G BOP—Golden Broken Orange Pekoe: Second grade tea with uneven leaves and few tips.
  • GF BOP1—Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe 1: As above, but with only the highest quality leaves in the GFBOP classification.
  • TGF BOP1—Tippy Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe 1: High-quality leaves with a high proportion of tips. Finest broken First Grade Leaves in Darjeeling and some parts of Assam.

Fannings grades

  • PF—Pekoe Fannings
  • OF—Orange Fannings: From Northern India and some parts of Africa and South America.
  • FOF—Flowery Orange Fannings: Common in Assam, Dooars, and Bangladesh. Some leaf sizes come close to the smaller broken grades.
  • GFOF—Golden Flowery Orange Fannings: Finest grade in Darjeeling for tea bag production.
  • TGFOF—Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Fannings.
  • BOPF—Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings: Main grade in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Southern India, Kenya, Mozambique, Bangladesh, and China. Black-leaf tea with few added ingredients, uniform particle size, and no tips.

 Dust grades

  • D1—Dust 1: From Sri Lanka, Indonesia, China, Africa, South America, and Southern India.
  • PD—Pekoe Dust
  • PD1—Pekoe Dust 1: Mainly produced in India.
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