When you think of Indian tea, you probably think of rich, spicy chai. Don't get me wrong—chai's great—but I don't think it's the most interesting tea to come out of the country. For a brew that's at once delicate, assertive, and totally unique, you have to go with Darjeeling.
'darjeeling' on Serious Eats
Though the tea-growing lands of India are (for better or worse) synonymous with household teabag brands nowadays, tea is still a relative newcomer to that fertile part of East Asia. Darjeeling tea, which has found a foothold in both the highest- and lowest-brows of the tea-drinking market, only began to spring from the Himalayan soils of West Bengal, India, in the later half of the 1800s, at the hand—yup—of a seed-smuggler just back from a trip to China.
What we call "black tea" is known in much of Asia as "red tea"—referring more to the color in the cup than the blackened appearance of the fully oxidized leaves before brewing. It may also be useful to distinguish between the origins of black teas, such as Chinese (whose leaves are picked earlier and withstand more oxidation) and black teas of other origins, e.g. Africa, India and Sri Lanka (whose leaves are picked later and are less oxidized). The difference in processing methods of these teas is reflected in their flavor, and affects the way in which you may choose to brew them.