Tale of '2 flushes'- Darjeeling Tea
- December 07 2021
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The Darjeeling Tea growing seasons are named as Darjeeling First Flush (Spring) which is the period from March to April, Darjeeling Second Flush (Summer) from May to June, Darjeeling Monsoon Flush (Rainy season) from July to September and finally Darjeeling Autumnal Flush (Autumn) from October to November.
Accordingly, as the tea growing season proceeds from March to November of every year, the characteristics of tea harvested from the same plant vary as we progress from Darjeeling First flush to Darjeeling Autumn flush.
The Darjeeling first flush (March to April) is the first harvest of the season which comes after a period of winter dormancy lasting around 4 months, and also, immediately after spring rains have rejuvenated the tea bushes. The first flush teas are normally packed with a lot of tea goodies that have been retained within these shoots for a 4-month long period.
After the Darjeeling First Flush, there is a brief dormancy period of the Tea bushes and is followed by Darjeeling Second flush that coincides with the peak summer months of May and June.
As far as appearance is concerned, both types of tea are made using the conventional method of manufacturing where the tea leaves are gently rolled to give a long wiry and artistically twisted structure. The twisted structure is greatly in demand universally as it not only looks good to the tea connoisseur but also indicates that all the flavour profiles are safely retained within the leaf.
Now, coming to the differences between these great teas!
The Darjeeling First flush tea leaves are slightly greenish in colour and may sometimes be mistaken for green tea. However, like green tea, Darjeeling First Flush is infused at about 80 degrees celsius.
The liquors of Darjeeling First Flush are light, clear, fresh, bright, and lively with a pleasantly mild astringency to the palate. This astringency is a typical characteristic of Darjeeling First Flush Tea. The Tea bushes are laden with all 'tea-ness' stocked up during the dormant winter months, literally, eject these 'goodies' into the new shoots resulting in an astringent or bitter taste. In addition, producers sometimes tend to oxidise the tea less to preserve the natural freshness, thus highlighting its most natural floral (wild flower), fruity (peachy), and grassy flavours.
The Darjeeling second flush tea on the other hand has a browner and darker appearance than its first flush counterpart.
We also infuse Darjeeling Second Flush tea at higher temperatures than First Flush of around 90 degrees Celsius. The liquor is reddish or amber in colour and has much fuller body or viscosity than the First Flush. The astringency we spoke about in the First flush is absent here and Second Flush liquors are much smoother. Once a connoisseur sips a prized Darjeeling Second flush tea, they immediately savour the fabled 'Muscatel' or wine flavour notes that send their senses soaring to the skies!
This unique Muscatel flavour is not found in any of the other thousands of types of teas found globally and is therefore a 'prized find' for the Darjeeling Tea planter during the May-June period of every year. It is no wonder that the bulk of the Darjeeling Tea planters’ yearly earnings come from these two months followed by Darjeeling First Flush.
Both, the Darjeeling First and Darjeeling Second flush at the Taj Mahal Tea House are sourced from the finest high elevation tea estates in the world.
Do visit Taj Mahal Tea House and enjoy these 2 award winning teas with some of our finely curated food items to make it a visit to remember!