Darjeeling First Flush

Darjeeling First Flush

 

What is First Flush?

 

In Darjeeling, on the foothills of the Himalayas, spring signifies a major occurrence. It is a special time for tea growers in the region and is awaited every year with great anticipation. A soon as the sun warms the dormant tea plantations, the arrival of the youngest and most tender leaves of the tea plants (Camellia sinensis) are eagerly awaited.

This first pick is known as First Flush and devoted tea fans across the globe, too, await the arrival of the First Flush Darjeeling tea every year.

It is a time full of activity for the tea gardens and producers and demand is high due to its popularity. The young leaves are hand-picked with great care by only the most experienced pickers to produce the finest, most delicate and refreshing black tea.

 

 

About Darjeeling, India

Darjeeling is revered as one of, if not the finest tea district in the world. Teas from this region are often referred to as the ‘Champagne of Teas’ and impart a delicate yet intense flavour. 

The Darjeeling region in India stretches between high mountain ridges and deep mountain valleys, making the terrain challenging and rough to farm and harvest. This, as well as the high-altitude, hours of sun, rain and other weather factors, make Darjeeling such an exclusive tea region.

Darjeeling is only capable of producing 1% of India’s total tea output and of its three main tea growing regions, Darjeeling is not the largest but is the most famous.

 

 

 

Orthodox Methods

After the harsh cold winters in the mountainous Himalayas, the spring rain and sun gently bring the tea plants back to life. Shoots emerge consisting of a single bud and two leaves, and these emerging leaves are selling at premium prices across the world. For the tea to be classified as First Flush, it must be produced using the orthodox method, which means that the leaves have to be picked by hand. The tea making process involves withering the shoots, fermenting and drying them then finally grading according to their size and quality.

 

Complex Flavour

First Flush Darjeeling teas have complex flavours and characteristics. Some are highly aromatic with a slightly fruity nature while others offer unexpected and entirely natural sweetness. The best first flush teas are the most fragrant because the leaves develop slowly in the cooler spring sunshine and have a more concentrated essence from the plants winter hibernation.

Depending on the tea itself, many aficionados have identified numerous aromas and flavours including mossy notes, honeyed apple or orange blossom, hints of muscatel and citrus. We could go on!

 

 

 

Our Teas

Premium 2019 First Flush Balasun SFTGFOP1

The Balasun region of Darjeeling in India is famed for its rolling hills, open valley terrain and panoramic views. Situated among various degrees of altitude varying from 365 metres to 1375 metres and temperatures from as low as 7 degrees Celsius in the winter and 30 in the summer, the tea plants experience extremes throughout the year. These natural factors, perhaps, attribute to this tea’s uniqueness.

The Premium 2019 Darjeeling Balasun First Flush is only lightly fermented and shines in a beautiful shade of colour. With deliciously soft gentle notes, the Darjeeling Balasun loose-leaf tea appears bright yellow in the cup with wonderful fresh, flowery and fragrant nuances.

 

Darjeeling Badamtam First Flush Organic

Our Badamtam First Flush organic tea is a distinctive Darjeeling with the characteristic flavour only one of the best first flush teas will provide. The Badamtam Tea Estate is located about 17kms from Darjeeling town and at an altitude ranging between 305 - 1830 meters above sea level. It is famed for its First Flush Teas.

This particular Darjeeling is a first-class First Flush with a memorably fresh, flowery taste, and a delicacy that only a spring harvest can bring.

 

Spring Darjeeling Organic

Our Spring Darjeeling Organic is a superbly balanced Himalayan Darjeeling of outstanding quality. Originating from the southern hills of Kurseong region, the First Flush teas produced in the gardens of this region of Darjeeling are refreshing and delicate. Certified organic, the black tea is of outstanding quality and is noted as being bright, full-bodied yet tender and floral. 

 

 

 

Tea Leaf Grades

So, what do those letters after the name of a tea really mean?
As a general rule, the more letters the better the tea. These are industry letters describing the various qualities of tea.

Here’s the run-down.

S = Superior
F = Fine – excellent quality
T = Tippy – These are the leaf buds that are the premium pick.
G = Golden – Indicating golden brown teas only used for teas from India.
F = Flowery – A term describing fragrance and aroma.
O = Orange – Refers to the tracing back to Royal tea gardens, meaning exquisite or especially good.
P = Pekoe – A Chinese word for ‘white down’ referring to the fine thin hairs on the tea leaf’s edge.

With regards to our Premium 2019 First Flush Balasun SFTGFOP1, it is a Superior, Fine, Tippy, Golden, Flowery Orange, Pekoe, 1, which means that the tea is one of the highest grades of Darjeeling First Flush teas you can get.

 

Second Flush Teas

 

Once the spring harvest is over, and the tea bushes have been plucked, the plants are allowed to recover and grow new leaves. As the season continues, fresh leaves will develop, but they will have a somewhat different colour which, when processed, will give the tea a very different persona. This tea is known as Second Flush, and even though it is from the same plant, in the same garden, the taste will be quite different from the First Flush.

 

Our organic Darjeeling Seeyok is an exquisite Second Flush with aromatic and nutty notes. A top-quality tea from the Seeyok estate which lies high up near the Indian / Nepalese border. The cool nights followed by days of intense sunshine define the unique tea.

Darjeeling Margarets Hope Second Flush is lovely soft Darjeeling with a strong body and fruity aromatic muscatel notes.
It becomes a firm favourite for everyone who tries it.

 

 

 

How to Brew First Flush Teas

 

First Flush Darjeeling tea is something special and should not to be missed!

Here is our handy guide on how to brew the perfect cup of First Flush tea.

• Boil some fresh filtered cold water
• Place your tea leaves in a tea strainer or teapot (1 tsp per person)
• Pour the boiling water over the leaves
• Steep the tea for the appropriate amount of time (printed on the packaging), approx. 3 min
• Strain the tea
• Sweeten with honey or sugar to taste, or not, but Darjeeling tea tastes best without milk
• Sit back and enjoy!

 

Posted by Alicja McCarthy
15th May 2019

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