This week on Good Food, Evan speaks with Jeff Koehler, author of Darjeeling: The Colorful History and Precarious Fate of the World’s Greatest Tea. The effort given to just one cup is a laborious process of hand-plucking the buds from plants growing on steep hillsides in Northeast India. So why got tend to leaves with the same care? Following is a recipe to make your cup just so.
Steeping the perfect cup of Darjeeling tea is simple but exacting. Bring a kettle of freshly drawn (or bottled) water to a boil. Rinse out a teapot and quickly discard the water. Add 1 level teaspoon—about 1⁄₁₂ ounce or 2.5 grams—of pure long-leaf Darjeeling tea per cup to the teapot. Pour the water over the leaves, cover the pot, and steep for 3 to 3 ½ minutes, letting the leaves breathe and stretch. Strain into warmed teacups.
Darjeeling’s nuanced flavor is best appreciated without milk, sugar, or, because of its slight natural astringency, lemon. But if it is impossible to drink it straight, increase steeping time to 4 minutes for adding sugar and to 5 minutes for milk.