Darjeeling, California

Friday, March 7, 2008

Remember Coconut Milk Cheese guy? Well, he strikes again...

Coworker -
So what exactly is Darjeeling? Is it a black tea?

Me - Darjeeling is a tea which is usually black but can be oolong or green.

Coworker - So why is it called Darjeeling in specific?

Me - Well, it's like champagne. Champagne can only be officially produced in the Champagne District of France. Darjeeling is a specific place in India. According to the Tea Board of India, a Darjeeling must be grown and produced in a tea garden in Darjeeling. The region gives tea a very light and distinct flavor.

Coworker - So is there Californian Darjeeling?

Me - No, that would be Californian tea, though I dunno if there actually is any.

Coworker - But what if they use the same leaves as in India?

Me - There is only one kind of tea leaf really.

Coworker - So it is the same.

Me - No, it has to come from Darjeeling, India.

Coworker - But if it is grown here then I can buy cheaper, local Darjeeling, right?

(long pause)

Me - Yes. Yes, you can. You can even buy official champagne from Fresno.

Coworker - Really?

Me - Sure. Why not?


  1. Well, if he's able to grow any tea plants successfully in California, be sure to let me know! I'll invest! No tea plants grow successfully in the US except on a small island of the coast of South Carolina on the Bigelow Tea Plantation. I think Hawaii's trying. Our climate just doesn't work for the camellia sinensis.

    So good luck finding any local tea. Local food purists would have to abstain. Isn't it the same with coffee? No one grows coffee here either.

  2. The South Carolina tea that Bigelow sells is blended with other Ceylon leaves. I've tried it and wasn't impressed. There's just not that much going on in the nose. It would, by virtue of being Plain Tea, become decent Sweet Tea, but I think that's missing the point. One should not abuse specialty products in that fashion.

    I like black Darjeelings. Do you or Tea_party_girl have any particular recommendations?

  3. So. Funny.

    Yet education all at once. Thanks luv!

  4. is this the carrot berry guy too?

  5. how did this guy manage to meet whatever qualifications were necessary to get a job? i mean, wow.

  6. Judith, I agree about Bigelow's tea. Mim's Darjeeling is my personal favorite. I think it was Garret who interviewed Hina of Hina's Tea here in Sacramento. That's where I buy Mim's, but you can also order from her online.

  7. A Darjeeling by any other name... I once surprised a Brit when I was overseas by knowing what Cheddar cheese was. He was astounded and upset that we eat "Cheddar" cheese in the U.S. He said that it was supposed to be a origin specific name just like Champagne.

  8. this is like the same idiotic co-worker who asked me what kind of turkey vegetarians eat... i've learned you can't educate all the morons in the world, it would take a lifetime if not more, lol.

    lovely post, my father tells me they have these lovely villas/bungalows you can rent in Darjeeling amidst the tea plantations.

  9. Yeah right... you can produce "Darjeeling" in California... and also some "Champagne" and "Cognac" to go with it...

    You can produce whatever you wanna produce.. where ever you wanna produce it...

    But if you grow tea in California... you will be missing few ingredients that makes real "Darjeeling" ... Foremost it will not be grown at the height of 2000-3000 meters above sea level.. you won't have an average temp of 10 to 16 [Celcius].. It won't have the cool mountain breexe from the Himalayas, nor will it have the clean, crisp mountain air...

    If you can create all this in Calafornia, then you may call it "Darjeeling".. otherwise call it "Robust Californian"...

    Just a thought


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