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Happy Valley Tea Estate

Happy Valley Tea Estate is located in Darjeeling’s picturesque hillside. Due to its high perch, the garden is able to utilize the mountain mist which has a unique effect on the pollen of the plants and lends to the unique flavor of Darjeeling tea. Aided by Darjeeling's cool, moist climate and sloping terrain, its tea estates produce a fine and delicately flavored tea that is referred to as the "Champagne of teas."

A look at the processing method used in the Happy Valley Tea Estate in Darjeeling shows how one bush can produce five different varieties of tea. The picked leaves are placed in long trays to a depth of about 20cm where air is blown from underneath to drive out moisture in a two-stage process, six hours of cold air and six hours of hot; this reduces the moisture content of the green leaves from 75% - 35%. The leaves then pass into a rolling machine where they are rolled and crushed for 45 minutes to bring out the juices from the cells, after which a sifter machine separates out any leaves that are too big.

Fermentation is next, where the leaves are left on cold metal shelves for two to three hours to ferment in their juices, turning the color from green to brown; they are then passed through the drying machine, a long conveyor through a furnace where the moisture is reduced to about 2%. Finally the leaves, now ready to brew up, are sorted into categories according to leaf size, the smaller leaves being the best quality; at the Happy Valley the teas produced are, in order of quality with the best first, Orange Pekoe, Golden Flower, Golden Supremo, and Supremo.