Darjeeling tea is the world’s most expensive and exotic tea. It is grown in the Darjeeling hills roughly about 2250 meters above the sea level. The distinctive flavour of the Darjeeling tea comes from the geographical conditions of the region. It has a flavour like no other tea in the world. Attempts to simulate the growth of Darjeeling tea has invariably failed all across the world, leading to spurious teas being sold under the banner of Darjeeling tea. The Darjeeling hills produce roughly about 10 million kilograms of tea a year, but the market has an inflow of about 40 million kilograms of tea a year to be sold as Darjeeling tea, which means that there is a counterfeit tea being sold about 3 times the total produce.
The EU has registered Darjeeling tea under its registry for geographical indications (GIs), which will prevent all other teas produced elsewhere in the world to be sold under name of ‘Darjeeling tea’. GI is an indication which recognises a good originating from a certain area, the good is known by the name of the area it is produced in, like champagne. This is a move that will help the depressed Darjeeling tea industry. It is also the first Indian commodity to be registered by the EU as a GI product.
It may take about 2 years for the verification process to be completed, and actually grant GI status to Darjeeling tea.