Tea is among the most popular drinks in the world (1, 2, 3, 4).

This fragrant beverage — made by steeping fresh or dried Camellia sinensis leaves in hot water — sits right alongside coffee as one of the most prized beverages of the past few hundred years.

There are thousands of different flavors, blends, and ways to enjoy tea.

Darjeeling tea is often called the “Champagne” of tea, as it boasts top-quality flavor, aroma, and quality. You might be wondering whether it’s also good for your health.

This article provides an overview of Darjeeling tea, its benefits, and its downsides.

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Darjeeling tea has an intricate and complex flavor profile. This is confirmed by research, which shows that the tea is loaded with aromatic compounds with a strong and pleasant aroma (5, 6, 7).

The color of the tea is usually a golden shade of yellow, amber, orange, or brown. People often describe the tea’s flavor as less bitter than other teas. Tea lovers find it sweet, fruity, and earthy.

The tea typically deepens in color and flavor as the crop ages. The flavor may also vary depending on the specific crop and the season during which it was harvested.

What really sets Darjeeling tea apart from other tea varieties is where and how it’s grown. Though it likely originated in China like most other varieties of tea, tea growers in India adopted it during the 19th century and cultivated into what it is today.

Today, all Darjeeling tea is grown in the Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts of West Bengal, India, and only tea certified by the Tea Board of India can be labeled as Darjeeling. The tea board currently recognizes about 90 tea gardens as official producers.

The variety of Camellia sinensis used in Darjeeling tea grows best in cool, wet conditions. This is why it grows so well in India at the foothills of the Himalayan mountains.

Is it the same as black tea?

The two main types of tea grown today both come from the Camellia sinensis species — the sinensis and assamica varieties. Darjeeling tea is a type of sinensis tea leaf (8, 9).

Typically, sinensis leaves are used to make black tea. However, they can also be used to make white, green, or oolong tea, all depending on the harvesting and processing techniques (8).

Many other types of black tea aside from Darjeeling are available. They all vary in aroma, flavor, color, and nutritional profile.

Darjeeling tea is grown only by certified growers in India. This is what primarily sets it apart from other types of black tea.

Does it have caffeine?

All types of tea made from leaves of the Camellia sinensis species, including Darjeeling, contain some caffeine.

In fact, some of the possible benefits of tea have been attributed to its caffeine content (10).

One study found that 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of Darjeeling tea has an average of 1.7 grams of caffeine, which is on the higher end compared with other types of Indian black tea investigated in the same study (11).

To make an average cup of tea, you need only around 7 grams of black tea. Therefore, the average cup of Darjeeling tea likely contains about 120 mg of caffeine, which is comparable to a strong cup of coffee.

SUMMARY

Darjeeling tea is a caffeinated type of black tea grown in specific areas of India. The tea is revered for its fine flavor, color, and aroma.

Most types of tea — green, black, and even herbal — are known to have significant health benefits. Darjeeling tea is no exception (11, 12, 13, 14).

In fact, regularly drinking tea has even been linked with having a more nutritious diet overall (1).

The following are a few notable health benefits of black teas like Darjeeling:

  • Rich in healthy plant chemicals. Plants of the Camellia species are full of antioxidants, polyphenols, and phytochemicals such as flavonoids. These may reduce your risk of metabolic conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes (8, 9, 12, 15).
  • May support weight loss. Unsweetened tea is a low calorie beverage. Its plant chemicals may even support weight loss when tea is used to replace higher calorie beverages (16, 17).
  • May have anticancer properties. One test-tube study observed anticancer activity specifically for Darjeeling tea. Other studies have observed similar results for black teas in general (18, 19, 20).
  • Has antibacterial effects. Tea has antimicrobial effects. Researchers are investigating how these properties could be used to improve oral health and treat bacterial infections of the gastrointestinal tract (21, 22, 23, 24).
  • Might be calming. The scent of Darjeeling tea could have calming effects. One study found that the aroma of Darjeeling and other types of black tea improved mood during stressful situations (25, 26).
  • May be neuroprotective. Black and green teas are high in naturally occurring compounds called tannins. They may be neuroprotective, meaning they could help protect your nervous system and brain health (27).
SUMMARY

Like many teas from the Camellia sinensis species of plants, Darjeeling tea is packed with nutritious plant compounds. Drinking it as part of a balanced diet may help combat chronic health conditions, support weight loss, reduce stress, and more.

Though regularly drinking Darjeeling tea could support your health in multiple ways, drinking too much of the beverage could have some risks as well:

  • May affect digestion. Consuming too many tannin plant compounds from any type of tea can cause nausea and constipation and reduce iron absorption (28, 29).
  • Contains caffeine. Consuming more than 400 mg of caffeine daily — or 200 mg for pregnant women or people with migraine, heart conditions, or mental health conditions — can affect mood, sleep quality, heart health, and more (30, 31, 32, 33).
  • Might stain your teeth. Because of the tannins, drinking black tea often can stain the enamel, the outer layer of your teeth. One way to greatly reduce the risk of staining your teeth is simply to add a dash of milk to your tea (14, 34).
SUMMARY

While Darjeeling tea is a healthy beverage choice, drinking excessive amounts of it may come with downsides. For example, you may develop a caffeine dependency or experience digestive and dental side effects.

Brewing your own Darjeeling tea at home is as easy as following these three simple steps.

To make 1 cup (237 mL) of Darjeeling tea:

  1. Place 1 Darjeeling tea bag or approximately 1 tbsp. of dried Darjeeling tea leaves in your preferred type of tea infuser.
  2. Heat 1 cup (237 mL) of water to a temperature of 185–203°F (85–95°C).
  3. Allow the tea leaves to steep in the hot water for 3–5 minutes before removing the infuser and enjoying your cup of hot Darjeeling tea.

You can find both tea bags and loose leaves at retail stores and tea shops or online.

Many people enjoy Darjeeling tea on its own. Others prefer adding a little sugar, honey, milk, or fresh lemon juice.

Keep in mind, though, that any added ingredients may change the nutritional value and antioxidant benefits of this soothing drink (35).

SUMMARY

Darjeeling tea is easy to make at home using dried leaves or a packaged tea bag. Enjoy it as is or with a sweetener, lemon juice, or milk.

Darjeeling tea is a black tea grown in India. It’s treasured for its complex flavor and aroma.

This fine tea is naturally low in calories and is easy to include as part of a healthy diet.

Replacing higher calorie drinks with Darjeeling tea could benefit weight loss efforts. Plus, the abundance of plant compounds in this black tea — such as antioxidants and polyphenols — could help prevent chronic health conditions and improve your overall health.

However, because it’s caffeinated and rich in tannins, drinking too much of it could impact your digestive system and limit your absorption of certain nutrients, such as iron.

Still, the tea is easy to make at home and has many benefits when consumed in moderate amounts.