Formed in 1983, Darjeeling Tea logo was also being used to promote many smaller regions. The true flavour of Darjeeling Tea will now be shining through.
Nepal’s decision to create a separate identity for itself and create a new market takes us back to the story of 1983, when Darjeeling tea — under whose aegis Nepal had been sold for all these years — was formed.
Darjeeling Tea has been cultivated since 1800s and its unique flavour is attributed to the altitude, soil conditions, direction of the wind and rain (north or west facing slopes of cultivation) along with the process of making the tea.
These parameters set the Darjeeling apart from all other teas produced in the country.
Roughly 10 million kilograms of tea is produced by the region, spread across approximately 17,500 hectares of land. Each cup of Darjeeling represents the superior taste of pure Himalayan teas of the region and has been in great demand since the very first harvest. The East India Company brought the tricks of the tea trade with them from China to India, along with the tea seeds that were first planted in the Botanical Garden in Howrah, Kolkata to study tea development in India. Over the course of years, every garden in Darjeeling has committed themselves to the greater understanding of tea and incorporated the original Chinese variants of tea along with newer higher-yielding and developed better tasting clones of the teas.
Apart from the distinct muscatel flavour that rules every cup of Darjeeling tea in the summer and autumnal harvests, every tea garden of Darjeeling is known for its distinct taste of tea.
Given the dedication of Darjeeling to produce the finest cup of tea available in the world, it is no wonder that over the years the prized teas have become a coveted treasure in every tea lovers collection. An overwhelming celebration of a refined taste that has been drawing people to the scenic expanse to witness the magic of tea cultivation across the 87 estates of the region.
Owing to the success of the Darjeeling tea, it was common practice by middlemen to purchase these high-quality teas and blend them — rather irresponsibly — with poorer quality teas grown in other regions and sell them under the larger branding of India Tea. Without a distinct identity for Darjeeling tea, the quality of teas reaching tea lovers continued to suffer. The Tea Board of India, perplexed by the issue at hand, announced the launch of the Darjeeling Tea logo which would limit the branding of Darjeeling to the produce exclusively to the 87 estates of the Himalayan region.
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Darjeeling Tea logo and brand came to life in 1983 — when Darjeeling received its Geographical Indication (the first in India) on the world map, providing a much-needed respite to tea lovers who could now look out for the logo to authenticate its origin.
The taste of Darjeeling in India has now become as exclusive and as celebrated globally as Champagne in France. In fact, Darjeeling Tea is referred to as the ‘Champagne Of Teas.’
According to the Tea Board of India, the use of the word Darjeeling Tea and the logo are protected as Geographical Indications (GI) in India and as Certification Trade Marks (CTM) in UK, USA, Australia and Taiwan. A major development in this area is the registration of Darjeeling as a Community Collective Mark (CCM) in the European Union.
On November 12, 2007, an application was filed for the registration of Darjeeling as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) under The European Council Regulation 510/2006, which was finally adopted as “Darjeeling PGI” on October 20, 2011. This registration has been a vital step in protecting against any misuse, imitation or evocation or use accompanied by expressions such as “style”, “type”, “method”, “as produced in”, “imitation” or similar types in the EU countries.
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As the patronage for Darjeeling Tea grew, it fuelled support and markets for all the teas under its hallmark. In 1983, at its launch, Darjeeling Tea was also used to market and promote Sikkim Tea, Nepal Tea, Dooars Tea, Bihar Tea as well as some of Assam Tea. The global recognition brought in has helped each of these regions to grow into their own.
It is in the same spirit that in January this year, Nepal Tea announced the launch of its own logo to promote and market teas grown in Nepal.
The Tea Board Of India further states that, “As a pre-requisite for domestic and international protection of Darjeeling as a certification trademark and a Geographical Indication, the Tea Board has formulated and put in place a comprehensive certification scheme wherein the definition of Darjeeling Tea has been formulated to mean tea that:
- is cultivated, grown or produced in the 87 tea gardens in the defined geographic areas and which have been registered with the Tea Board;
- has been cultivated, grown or produced in one of the said 87 tea gardens;
- has been processed and manufactured in a factory located in the defined geographic area; and,
- when tested by expert tea tasters, is determined to have the distinctive and naturally occurring organoleptic characteristics of taste, aroma and mouth feel, typical of tea cultivated, grown and produced in the region of Darjeeling, India.
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The certification scheme put in place by the Tea Board covers all stages from the production level to the export stage and meets the dual objective of ensuring that (1) tea sold as Darjeeling Tea in India and worldwide is genuine Darjeeling Tea produced in the defined regions of the District of Darjeeling and meets the criteria laid down by the Tea Board and (2) all sellers of genuine Darjeeling Tea are duly licensed. This licensing program affords the Tea Board the necessary information and control over the Darjeeling Tea industry to ensure that tea sold under the certification marks adheres to the standards for DARJEELING Tea as set forth by the Tea Board.”
The beautiful Himalayan country of Nepal has been cultivating its own tea for the past 154 years. The orthodox teas from the region had been sold under the Darjeeling Tea logo since 1983. Now, Nepal Tea will be powered by the Nepal Tea And Coffee Development Board, as it takes a form of its own.
Expert Chandra Bhusan Subba spoke to mediapersons and said, “The companies should meet the quality of the tea, employment security of the workers and environment conservation to use the trademark. The logo and the guidelines are accepted. Now, Nepal’s tea would be marketed in the international market”.
Nepal has proposed a mega event at the Everest Base Camp in April this year to announce the logo to attract international buyers to the brand. Bigger buyers and world’s journalists are scheduled to attend the logo inauguration event at the Mt Everest Base Camp. A four-day long conference on tea has also been proposed in Kathmandu in April to help facilitate a smooth transition of the brand for the international tea community.
BK Mohan, the chairman of the Darjeeling Tea Association, told Indian media, “If Nepal tea goes as Nepal tea, it is good for us. If they can control the sale of Nepal tea from Nepal and if it comes with a logo, it is good for us.”
With good measures in place, Nepal Tea and Darjeeling Tea will continue to flourish and regale the global tea lovers with their distinct flavors and delights.
Here’s to tea!
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