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Teas From India

Serious tea planting in India started with the British and was done in a plantation style instead of the small farms which are so prevalent in China. India is known for its black tea production, Darjeeling and Assam have become household names the world over. Now there is much experimentation as Indian tea estates produce other types of tea as well.

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Assam, Mangalam Estate (4 oz or 1 lb)
$16.15

FTGFOP, black indian tea, from Assam, plum, sandalwood, soy
Assam, Nahorhabi Estate (4 oz)
$14.53

Cacao Chai Black Tea | In Pursuit of Tea
Cacao Chai (4 oz)
$13.05

A velvety chai of Assam tea, aromatic spices and roasted cacao bean shells. Naturally sweet, it works well with or without sugar.
Classic Chai Black Tea | In Pursuit of Tea
Classic Chai (4 oz)
$14.25

A delicious, full-flavored chai made from hearty Assam tea and aromatic Indian spices.
Darjeeling 1st Flush, Glenburn Estate (2 oz)
$29.00


Banjhi Leaf of Darjeeling

On Making Second Flush Leaves

Sebastian Beckwith has spent much time in Darjeeling over the years, talking with many growers and tasting teas. He was there just at the end of the First Flush season and the beginning of the little known Banjhi period. Here are his notes on a previous trip.


Tea is one of the only plants that is used only for the vegetative growth, not its fruit or flower. The tea plant is an evergreen small tree by habit, but has been trained as a shrub/bush through the periodic management practices like plucking and pruning.

After the winter dormancy, the new growth is highly prized as the first tea of the season. Depending on the region it may become white tea or green tea. In Darjeeling it becomes its famous "first flush" tea. After the first spurt of growth from the plant it goes into a second period of dormancy. This occurs about a month after first flush starts and is called the Banjhi period. The plant produces a small bud, which doesn't grow to full size, as well as a leathery larger leaf which has little taste and is hard to process.

During this two-week period the plant must be plucked to get rid of these leaves. Often teas are made from these leaves, but the result is a low-quality tea, often produced for local consumption. The Banjhi plucking allows the plant to grow the small and extremely desirable second flush leaves.

Darjeeling 1st Flush, Margaret's Hope Estate (2 oz)
$36.25


Banjhi Leaf of Darjeeling

On Making Second Flush Leaves

Sebastian Beckwith has spent much time in Darjeeling over the years, talking with many growers and tasting teas. He was there just at the end of the First Flush season and the beginning of the little known Banjhi period. Here are his notes on a previous trip.


Tea is one of the only plants that is used only for the vegetative growth, not its fruit or flower. The tea plant is an evergreen small tree by habit, but has been trained as a shrub/bush through the periodic management practices like plucking and pruning.

After the winter dormancy, the new growth is highly prized as the first tea of the season. Depending on the region it may become white tea or green tea. In Darjeeling it becomes its famous "first flush" tea. After the first spurt of growth from the plant it goes into a second period of dormancy. This occurs about a month after first flush starts and is called the Banjhi period. The plant produces a small bud, which doesn't grow to full size, as well as a leathery larger leaf which has little taste and is hard to process.

During this two-week period the plant must be plucked to get rid of these leaves. Often teas are made from these leaves, but the result is a low-quality tea, often produced for local consumption. The Banjhi plucking allows the plant to grow the small and extremely desirable second flush leaves.

Darjeeling 1st Flush, Muscatel Valley (2 oz)
$20.00


Banjhi Leaf of Darjeeling

On Making Second Flush Leaves

Sebastian Beckwith has spent much time in Darjeeling over the years, talking with many growers and tasting teas. He was there just at the end of the First Flush season and the beginning of the little known Banjhi period. Here are his notes on a previous trip.


Tea is one of the only plants that is used only for the vegetative growth, not its fruit or flower. The tea plant is an evergreen small tree by habit, but has been trained as a shrub/bush through the periodic management practices like plucking and pruning.

After the winter dormancy, the new growth is highly prized as the first tea of the season. Depending on the region it may become white tea or green tea. In Darjeeling it becomes its famous "first flush" tea. After the first spurt of growth from the plant it goes into a second period of dormancy. This occurs about a month after first flush starts and is called the Banjhi period. The plant produces a small bud, which doesn't grow to full size, as well as a leathery larger leaf which has little taste and is hard to process.

During this two-week period the plant must be plucked to get rid of these leaves. Often teas are made from these leaves, but the result is a low-quality tea, often produced for local consumption. The Banjhi plucking allows the plant to grow the small and extremely desirable second flush leaves.

Darjeeling 2nd Flush, Goomtee Estate (4 oz)
$38.05


Banjhi Leaf of Darjeeling

On Making Second Flush Leaves

Sebastian Beckwith has spent much time in Darjeeling over the years, talking with many growers and tasting teas. He was there just at the end of the First Flush season and the beginning of the little known Banjhi period. Here are his notes on a previous trip.


Tea is one of the only plants that is used only for the vegetative growth, not its fruit or flower. The tea plant is an evergreen small tree by habit, but has been trained as a shrub/bush through the periodic management practices like plucking and pruning.

After the winter dormancy, the new growth is highly prized as the first tea of the season. Depending on the region it may become white tea or green tea. In Darjeeling it becomes its famous "first flush" tea. After the first spurt of growth from the plant it goes into a second period of dormancy. This occurs about a month after first flush starts and is called the Banjhi period. The plant produces a small bud, which doesn't grow to full size, as well as a leathery larger leaf which has little taste and is hard to process.

During this two-week period the plant must be plucked to get rid of these leaves. Often teas are made from these leaves, but the result is a low-quality tea, often produced for local consumption. The Banjhi plucking allows the plant to grow the small and extremely desirable second flush leaves.

Darjeeling 2nd Flush, Oaks Estate (4 oz)
$31.05


Banjhi Leaf of Darjeeling

On Making Second Flush Leaves

Sebastian Beckwith has spent much time in Darjeeling over the years, talking with many growers and tasting teas. He was there just at the end of the First Flush season and the beginning of the little known Banjhi period. Here are his notes on a previous trip.


Tea is one of the only plants that is used only for the vegetative growth, not its fruit or flower. The tea plant is an evergreen small tree by habit, but has been trained as a shrub/bush through the periodic management practices like plucking and pruning.

After the winter dormancy, the new growth is highly prized as the first tea of the season. Depending on the region it may become white tea or green tea. In Darjeeling it becomes its famous "first flush" tea. After the first spurt of growth from the plant it goes into a second period of dormancy. This occurs about a month after first flush starts and is called the Banjhi period. The plant produces a small bud, which doesn't grow to full size, as well as a leathery larger leaf which has little taste and is hard to process.

During this two-week period the plant must be plucked to get rid of these leaves. Often teas are made from these leaves, but the result is a low-quality tea, often produced for local consumption. The Banjhi plucking allows the plant to grow the small and extremely desirable second flush leaves.

Darjeeling Autumnal Flush, Gopaldhara Estate (2 oz)
$21.75


Banjhi Leaf of Darjeeling

On Making Second Flush Leaves

Sebastian Beckwith has spent much time in Darjeeling over the years, talking with many growers and tasting teas. He was there just at the end of the First Flush season and the beginning of the little known Banjhi period. Here are his notes on a previous trip.


Tea is one of the only plants that is used only for the vegetative growth, not its fruit or flower. The tea plant is an evergreen small tree by habit, but has been trained as a shrub/bush through the periodic management practices like plucking and pruning.

After the winter dormancy, the new growth is highly prized as the first tea of the season. Depending on the region it may become white tea or green tea. In Darjeeling it becomes its famous "first flush" tea. After the first spurt of growth from the plant it goes into a second period of dormancy. This occurs about a month after first flush starts and is called the Banjhi period. The plant produces a small bud, which doesn't grow to full size, as well as a leathery larger leaf which has little taste and is hard to process.

During this two-week period the plant must be plucked to get rid of these leaves. Often teas are made from these leaves, but the result is a low-quality tea, often produced for local consumption. The Banjhi plucking allows the plant to grow the small and extremely desirable second flush leaves.

Masala Chai Black Tea | In Pursuit of Tea
Masala Chai (4 oz)
$14.85

A spicier chai than our classic version, rich in notes of pepper and ginger.
Meghalaya, LaKyrsiew Estate (2 oz)
$38.75

Thai Chai Black Tea | In Pursuit of Tea
Thai Chai (4 oz)
$20.35

In Pursuit of Tea Chai - Spiced tea


Everyday drinking for the locals
In India, the word 'chai' simply refers to a strong black tea that's brewed with milk and sugar. Often left to simmer for several hours, this results in a deliciously rich and soothing tea. It's available everywhere, throughout the country, at all times of the day. Chai is offered in a variety of settings - from offices, shops, street corners and homes. In busy shopping areas, a cup of chai is never far from reach and is quickly available by local vendors to offer their prospective customers or guests.


History & Region
There are many theories as to how the chai tradition began. Some allude to folk takes of long ago Indian royal courts, while others describe a more a realistic picture of making British tea more palatable. Chai, simply as a spiced tea, has been around for thousands of years. Its roots are said to be linked to the Hindu Ayurveda healing system, which relies on the use of herbs and spices to help cure bodily ailments. Black tea was integrated into Chai in the mid 1800's, after the British began producing tea in Assam.

Chai varies from region to region. In New Delhi or southern India, chai is typically not a spiced beverage - it's simply black tea simmered with milk and sugar. To the far north nearing the Himalayas, in places such as Kashmir, this tea is known as 'masala chai', and is strongly spiced. Common spices include cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, star anise, allspice, cloves and peppercorns. The actual flavor will change from house to house as every family will have its own recipe that is slightly different from the next. This type of masala chai became popularized in the west by the early nineties, and could be found in many american cafes,
eventually even making its way into a concentrated teabag.



The Chai wallah
Chai wallah simply means 'tea seller'. These vendors can be found all throughout India, yelling "Chai! Chai! Garam garam chai!" at the train stations or on the streets. They vary in age, from the quite young to much older. Whether preparing tea over an open fire in tiny stalls, or moving about on the streets, many have their offerings in aluminum tea kettles or thermos. They always offer condiments of salt and sugar for spicing. Sweet or salty?

Traveling through Darjeeling, on our way to the busy food market in Kurseong Town, we made the acquaintance of a lively chai wallah at the train station. Mr. S. Chetri was offering two different types of chai. In his kettle, he had hot black tea. An interesting black rock salt was offered to us; drinking tea with salt is a local himalayan custom. Also available in his thermos was a sweetened black tea with milk, his 'regular' chai.
Stovetop Recipe - Delicious Chai in 5 minutes!
Our good friend, Ngawang, who grew up in Sikkim, India has been preparing this delicious recipe for years. Every time he makes it for us in the office, we can't get enough!

Use Classic or Crimson
- Amt per serving: 1 tbsp of Chai to 8 oz milk (you use water to adjust ratio to milk), 1 tsp sugar
- Bring milk to boil on the stovetop
- Add chai to milk, turn down heat and simmer for 5 min
- Pour chai through a strainer into your teapot or cup.
"In Pursuit of Tea is your guide to the finest hand-crafted tea from around the world."

We explore remote regions in search of extraordinary teas, which we enjoy with tea drinkers and friends who share our passion." In Pursuit of Tea
The Chai Collection | In Pursuit of Tea
The Chai Collection: Crimson Chai & Classic Chai
$37.50
$33.75

The ideal pairing for fans of Masala Chai.  Enjoy this classic black tea with spices, and the herbal infusion using the base of Rooibos.

   
 
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