Single Estate Teas are teas produced from a single plantation or even from a particular garden (sometimes referred to as a division) within a particular plantation.
These teas will vary in flavour depending on the time of the year in which the tea is harvested, the particular weather patterns prevailing at the time and also the processing method or technique employed.
Darjeeling teas from one of their reputed plantations can therefore be:
First Flush – teas harvested in spring, the new growth, just after the cold winter months.
Second Flush – harvested usually in the summer months and finally, Autumnal teas.
Each of these teas will have distinctive flavours and characteristics, although the tea is produced from the same plantation.
The flavour of the teas can also vary from year to year as it is a truly agricultural product which is affected by that particular season’s terroir.
Connoisseurs of tea often seek out single estate teas and enjoy the natural variations of appearance and flavour.
Blended teas on the other hand are the product of many teas, usually but not always, from the same region or country. The teas are blended by expert tea blenders to give a consistency of appearance and flavour, so that teas harvested, blended and packed throughout the year can be as closely produced as possible.
Some blends can have as many as 30 teas in the blend recipe, which can be varied to suit the teas available at that particular time. Blending of teas is used by tea companies to produce consistency for tea drinkers who are not seeking natural flavour variations.