Darjeeling First Flush Organic Teas

What is First Flush Tea?

First Flush teas signify the ‘first pick of Spring’ in the tea world. It is of particular importance in the Darjeeling region on India, set in the foothills of the Himalayas, as tea growers await the first harvest. As 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, await the arrival of the First Flush Darjeeling tea every year. Ordinarily, spring in the region is a hive 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. Unfortunately, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant shortage of skilled tea pickers in these regions, creating a year of limited, almost non-existent, First Flush teas in 2020. Social distancing rules in place have seen tea garden owners sadly see their first pick halted for an entire year. The Guardian reported that the north-eastern region of India could see a loss of global profits being hit by 40% due to the pandemic. So, if you can get hold of a First Flush tea, you’re in luck!


About Darjeeling

Darjeeling, in India, is revered as one of, if not THE finest tea regions in the world. Loose-leaf teas from this territory are often referred to as the ‘Champagne of Teas’ and impart a delicate yet concentrated flavour. The Darjeeling region 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.

Darjeeling, India


Orthodox Production 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 Tea Flavour

First Flush Darjeeling loose leaf 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!


Tea Leaf Grades

You’ll notice that teas, especially the finer or higher quality teas, will have letters within their name. But what do those letters really mean? As a general rule, the more letters, the better the tea. These are industry letters describing the various qualities of tea.

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 Orange Valley First Flush 2020 FTGFOP1, it is a 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.




Our NEW 2020 First Flush - Orange Valley Tea

Our brand NEW 2020 First Flush Orange Valley Tea is like drinking gold! This is an astounding tea that is highly aromatic with typical fresh and floral notes. Rare and truly special, this loose-leaf tea is grown in the Orange Valley tea garden in the region of Darjeeling. Grown to the west in altitudes between 1600 and 2000m this beautiful estate is surrounded by a high density of orange trees which gives the tea garden its name. This First Flush is well-produced and develops a typical, fresh, sparkling and aromatic cup, combined with a hint of spice. The taste is long-lasting and leaves floral and fruity notes, which makes this First Flush one of the best.





Our other Darjeeling Teas


Darjeeling Badamtam Organic

Our Organic Darjeeling Badamtam is a distinctive Darjeeling with a characteristically fresh flavour. This fabulous loose-leaf tea is grown on the Badamtam Tea Estate, located about 17kms from Darjeeling town and at an altitude ranging between 305 - 1830 meters above sea level. This particular Darjeeling is a premium First Flush with a memorable fresh, flowery taste. 


FTGFOP1 / Spring / India

Darjeeling Badamtam First Flush Organic is a FINE, TIPPY, GOLDEN, FLOWERY, ORANGE, PEKOE, meaning it is one heck of a fine black tea!

Darjeeling Badamtam First Flush Organic loose leaf tea




Darjeeling Tumsong Organic

Our organic Darjeeling Tumsong is an elegant and flowery loose-leaf tea that is lively and highly aromatic. A top-quality tea from one of the most famous gardens in Darjeeling, Tumsong is renowned worldwide for fine quality teas. This tea has full, flowery nuances that are lively and offers a highly aromatic flavour.


FTGFOP1 / Spring

Darjeeling Tumsong First Flush Organic is a FINE, TIPPY, GOLDEN, FLOWERY, ORANGE, PEKOE, meaning it is another top-quality black tea!

Darjeeling Tumsong First Flush Organic




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 loose-leaf 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 Loose-Leaf Teas 

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

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

How to brew first flush teas



Buying and Storing First Flush

Buying loose-leaf First Flush tea means that you are purchasing some of the freshest and most exquisite teas available. First Flush teas are premium teas, so you are usually investing in the tea. They are generally only lightly oxidised so that their fresh flavour can shine through. First Flush teas can last up to 2 years if stored properly in a cool, dark, airtight container away from light, moisture and pantry items such as coffee and spices that can filter flavour into the tea leaves. We have a fantastic range of tea caddies to choose from. Our favourites are our contemporary ‘tubular’ caddies and the double-lidded Joy caddies. 


Posted by cup of tea admin
18th June 2020

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