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Tea flushes explained

Tea flushes explained

Tea Flushes

A tea flush refers to the tea growing seasons (certain time periods) in Darjeeling,  the Himalayas and Assam.

The changing of seasons is said to be one of the most beautiful phenomena in nature; each season brings in something different for teas growing in Darjeeling. Tea growing can reflect on things like the sweet aftertaste of grapes or a floral aroma depending on the season it is grown; time of harvest has a big impact on those subtle nuances you enjoy in your cup of tea.

Tea Flush seasons

The season of harvest is termed as flush and in India, especially with Darjeeling teas, there are five flushes – three major harvest seasons with two intermediary and each season yields a tea that is unique and full of personality, one different from the other.

Major flushes:

Spring Flush from Mid March-May

This is the first flush season, also called Spring flush, first flushes mark the first harvest of the year. The leaves and buds are picked around March, following the spring monsoons. Darjeeling first flushes are every tea connoisseurs treasure, owing to their gentle, delicate taste, rich aroma and light body.

Darjeeling’s first flush tea is usually reserved for export since it is highly sought-after throughout the world.

Summer Flush from June to mid-August

This is the second flush, harvested in the month of June, second flush teas are also called summer flush teas since June brings the full glory of summer.
The remarkable muscatel teas arrive during this particular flush; the tea is usually full-bodied with a sweet, grapey finish.

Autumn Flush from October to November

This is the third flush, this brings the final harvest of the year, with the tea leaves picked around October. The autumnal flush, these teas are quite delicate, despite being stronger than first and second flush teas. A cup of this brew bears notes of spices and has a full, rich body.

Minor flushes

In-between the first and second flushes (Spring and Summer) there is the late April/Early May Flush and the Monsoon Flush, during the month of September, depending on weather patterns in Darjeeling.

What kinds of flavors can I expect from each Darjeeling tea flush?

Darjeeling First Flush Tea

The color of the tea is light and clear with bright liquor. The leaves have a floral scent, with a lively character.

Darjeeling Second Flush Tea

The tea has a dark color and strong flavor in contrast to first flush teas. The tea leaves have purplish bloom and has a fruity taste generally. To explain further, tea has amber hue and taste is mostly muscatel grape flavor caused due to the tea plant reacting to small insects that suck juices from the stems.

Darjeeling Third Flush Tea 

The tea colour is dark or coppery and texture is full bodied but it has a lighter flavour. Autumn Darjeeling has a delicate as well as a sparkling character.

Which flush is the most expensive? Why?

Generally speaking, first flush teas are considered more expensive due to its bright liquor and a lively character, first flushes are prized possessions!

First flush teas are produced in less quantity and hence the demand outstrips the supply.

However, it should be noted that Darjeeling tea connoisseurs generally have a specific preference for either first or second flush and do not mind paying premium for a good cup of tea.

What makes Darjeeling second flush tea so unique? How does it get its muscatel flavor?

Darjeeling second flush is so unique because it clearly brings the unique muscatel flavor Darjeeling is known for which no other tea in the world is able to bring.

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