The story of Darjeeling tea started some 150 years ago when Dr.Campbell (civil surgeon), as an experiment planted tea seeds in his garden at Beechwood, Darjeeling, 7000ft above sea level. He was reasonably successful in raising the plant, so the government, in 1847, elected to put out tea nurseries in this area.
Its appears that in 1866, Darjeeling had 39 gardens producing a total crop of 21000 kilograms of tea. In 1870,the number of gardens increased to 56, producing about 71000 kilograms of tea harvested from 4400 hectres. During 1860-1864, the Darjeeling company was established with 4 new gardens. By this time Darjeeling tea was found to be a profitable venture. Today, Darjeeling produce the world’s best aromatic teas. Presently Darjeeling has 86 tea gardens which produces about 10 million kgs of tea annually. Tea is grown in Darjeeling from a height of 100 mts.(300ft) to 2000mts (6000ft). Some 6000 shoots of tea leaves and a bud from these bushes make about ½ kg, whereas light leaf Assam can produce the same quantity with about 3000 shoots(all Darjeeling teas are hand plucked).