If you’re buying Darjeeling tea, do you think it comes from Darjeeling, India? I was surprised to find that you’re three times more likely to have a darjeeling tea that doesn’t come from Darjeeling. It’s been called the champagne of tea, and like champagne producers, the tea growers in India want you to think that a Darjeeling by any other name doesn’t taste as sweet. According to the The Economic Times:
India may become only the second non-European country to gain European Union brand-name protection for one of its most famous exports —Darjeeling tea.
The EU protects more than 800 regional foods to help protect producers in those regions, and some would argue expectations of consumers. So only companies producing the products in the relevant region can use the protected names. Foods and drink names like champagne, several thousand wines, Parma, Roquefort cheese and Madeira wine are protected. And India wants the same protection for its Darjeeling.
This isn’t anything new. The Indian Tea Board has been trying to protect it since 1983 when it created the Darjeeling tea logo. And they’ve been fighting world-wide to protect their brand.
What do you think? Should only teas from the Darjeeling region use its name?