They say that Darjeeling is the Champagne of tea, but I’m not a wine drinker so that means little to me. But you don’t need to know much about wine – or tea, for that matter – to understand that Hampstead Darjeeling tea is really something special.
Although teabags usually score fairly low, below 3.5, simply because the quality or grade of the leaf is subpar… this tea has shattered that ceiling.
It’s delicious, easy to brew, and even easier to get your hands on. My tea review below covers what to expect from the flavour, how best to make this tea, and where to buy it online.
Darjeeling Hampstead at a Glance
- Origins: Makaibari Tea Estate, Darjeeling district, West Bengal, India
- Flavour: Mellow black tea with a medium body and moderate tannins. Smooth and lush
This tea is wonderfully fragrant and bright, with a mellow black tea taste. The tannins are moderate, and yet there’s no bitterness or astringency. It’s smooth, mid-bodied and very drinkable.
Full Review – Darjeeling Black Tea by Hampstead
- Type: Tagged paper filter teabag
- Tea: Black tea
- Origin: Makaibari Tea Estate, Darjeeling, India
- Flavour Notes: Mellow, black tea, moderate tannins, well-rounded, medium body
- Aroma: Tannins, black tea, green freshness, muscatel, bright
- Milk or Lemon: Lemon is preferable
- Where to Buy: Amazon UK or Hampstead Tea
I ripped open the paper teabag wrapper with glee – I was so in the mood for a good Darjeeling black tea today! The initial aroma coming from the delicate, flaky tea leaves, is smooth with black tea tannins, but a slight green tea freshness and muscatel hint.
This is why Darjeeling is so good for afternoon tea. It has this refreshing, delicate edge that comes naturally from the tea leaves. Hampstead Darjeeling is a perfect example of everything a Darjeeling black tea should be.
Once brewed, it’s much richer. The colour is a gentle brown with gold hints at the edges, and the aroma coming from the teacup is pleasant and inviting. I love how bright the aroma is, it’s positively lively with black tea notes.
The flavour is just right. There’s a good dose of tannins (those drying “tea” notes) but they don’t add any bitterness. The body of the tea is mild and soft – overall, it’s well-rounded and deeply pleasing to drink.
Some Darjeeling teas can be overly floral, too astringent, and so light that they don’t really taste like a black tea at all. That’s really why I’m so impressed with Hampstead. They’ve managed to maintain some of the best features of a Darjeeling black tea while avoiding these pitfalls.
If I had to describe this tea in one word? Delightful.
How to Brew Darjeeling Hampstead Tea
Darjeeling is a black tea, so feel free to use freshly drawn water boiled in your kettle – don’t worry about lower temperatures.
However, Darjeeling should be brewed lighter than other black teas. Three minutes is really the maximum steep time I recommend. Yes, it will look quite light compared to your usual English Breakfast brew… but trust me, the flavour is there.
Use one teabag per 250ml mug or cup.
You can, technically, drink Darjeeling black tea with milk. But lemon tastes better. So, either add a squeeze of lemon juice or just let a slice of fresh lemon float around in your cup.
Why Hampstead Darjeeling Tea?
This tea is special. Besides being organic, sustainably farmed, and grown with biodynamic practices, it’s also sourced from the Makaibari Tea Estate. This is one of the oldest tea gardens in Darjeeling and is one of the few estates owned solely by an Indian family. It’s so famous, it has its own Wikipedia page.
In 1988, this tea garden was the first in the world to grow tea certified as organic. Impressive!
Hampstead continue this environmentally friendly approach by using totally biodegradable, paper-based packaging. It keeps the tea fresh without plastic.
As for the tea quality, it’s not bad. Of course, you can find high-quality whole leaf Darjeeling but it will cost you a lot… especially first flush. So, this is a cheaper option, featuring finely chopped tea leaf instead. Thankfully, it’s not overly dusty and I don’t think there are any twigs included (like you sometimes get with extremely low-quality teas).
Whether you’re new to Darjeeling black tea or are looking for a new Darjeeling to compliment your Afternoon Tea plans, this is a wonderful option. Hampstead Darjeeling is smooth, fragrant, and very satisfying. You can buy it directly from Hampstead or look on Amazon for a better delivery option.
When I want to brew up a big serving of Darjeeling tea to sip over an afternoon, I like to use a teapot and teapot warmer. My Ceramic Teapot Warmers are candle-powered and perfectly compatible with any glass or ceramic teapot. All the products in our shop at Immortal Wordsmith ship to the UK for free!