A fragrant concoction made from combining hot water and preserved leaves from an evergreen shrub, tea has been referenced and written about in historical records for centuries. Originating in China, the concept of growing the Camellia sinensis plant, curing the leaves and buds, and brewing tea soon became popular all over the world.
Tea has a fascinating history in India. Largely consumed by tribes with records dating back to as early as the 12th century, commercial tea production and the more wide-spread tea culture didn’t emerge until much later. Of the varieties produced in India, Sikkim Temi tea has quite the reputation. Grown in the Himalayan mountains in the northeast region of Sikkim, this rare tea is often referred to as Temi tea.
Although the tea tree had not been brought to India, the Singpho and Khamti tribes have claimed to be drinking tea as far back as the 1100s from tea plants that grew in the wild. Some have also suggested that leaves from a different plant, Sanjeevani, was used to create this beverage. Even though the early history is a little murky, the idea of steeping leaves in hot water was thought to have begun in ancient India centuries ago.
Despite having naturally growing tea plants in parts of India, tea seeds and traditional Chinese growing and harvesting methods were brought to the country by the British in the early 1800s. It was not long before large pieces of Indian land were being used for commercial tea production under the wishes of the British East India Company.
Today, India is the largest tea-consuming country and the second largest tea-manufacturing country in the world. Producing a billion kilograms of tea per year, they are famous for their Assam and Darjeeling teas.
Temi Tea Garden
Sikkim Temi tea is a high-quality black tea produced primarily at the Temi Tea Garden, which is owned by the local government in Sikkim. The garden, which was opened in the 1960s as a way to help boost the local economy, spans 500 acres and employs roughly 400 people. Besides the first flush that produces the Sikkim Temi tea, there are three other harvests, each producing a distinctly different flavor of tea.
Harvest & Production
Temi tea is harvested during the first flush, meaning only the youngest and most delicate of leaves and buds are hand-plucked during the spring harvest, which takes place between March and April. Like other black tea leaves, the leaves are fully oxidized. They are then roasted in a large machine and fully processed before being hand-packaged.
Brewing Temi Tea
Available in both tea bags and loose, Sikkim Temi tea is easy to prepare. With just a few steps and a select few items, you can brew your own fresh cup of Temi tea at home.
Loose-Leaf or Tea Bag
Whether brewing loose-leaf Temi tea or using a tea bag, you will need a pot or kettle to boil some water, a teapot for steeping the tea, the loose tea leaves, a cup to enjoy the tea out of, and a tea strainer to catch the leaves. It is recommended that 1 tsp of loose leaves or 1 tea bag is used for every 8 fl oz cup of water.
- Measure out how much water you need based on how many cups of tea you are making. Then, bring the water to a boil water in a kettle or pot (spring water is recommended).
- While your water is coming to a boil, place the corresponding amount of tea leaves into the teapot. If you are using a tea bag, place one tea bag for each 8 oz serving being made. (For example, if you are boiling 16 oz of water for two cups of tea, you would place 2 tsp of tea leaves, or 2 tea bags, into the teapot.)
- Once the water comes to a rolling boil, pour it into the teapot directly over the tea leaves. Place the lid on the teapot and allow the leaves to steep for 3 to 5 minutes.
- After the time is up, strain out the tea leaves and pour your fresh cup of tea.
Appearance, Flavor, & Aroma
The leaves, which are a rich brown color and slightly curled, produce a tea that is a dark golden color. Known for its sweet taste and subtle floral and fruity flavors, it also smells floral and is highly pleasant. This tea, with its exquisite taste, looks, and smells is arguably one of the rarest first flush teas on the market.
Caffeine & Nutrition
This black tea variety has approximately 45 mg of caffeine per 8 oz serving. Like other black teas, Sikkim Temi tea has less than 5 calories per serving and less than 1 g of carbs, fats, and proteins. Despite being low in nutritional value, it is full of vitamins and minerals. Although it has not been studied, it said that this black tea variety could aid in maintaining a healthy life.
Sikkim Temi Tea
Tea has deep roots in India. The first records of it being consumed date back to tribes in the 12th century. After the British brought traditional Chinese practices to the country and began harvesting tea for export, tea culture in India became more popular.
With the establishment of a prominent tea culture, the Temi Tea Garden was established. This led to the development of one of the rarest teas available today, Sikkim Temi tea. Made from the first harvest of the season, this tea provides tea enthusiasts with a smooth and sweet tasting beverage. The delicate leaves and buds that are plucked by hand during March and April ultimately produce a dark golden brew with a scrumptious aroma.
If you are a black tea connoisseur who loves to experiment and try new teas in general, this should definitely be on your bucket list. Good luck, however, getting your hands on it. With only a small amount produced each year and being considered such a delicacy, it sells out fast!