First Flush or Spring Flush (more simply, spring teas) is one of the highlights of the tea tradition. After the winter dormancy of around 3 months, new shoots from the tea bushes begin arriving around late February, in case of Darjeeling. These delicate leaves and buds, filled with reawakened energy in the bush, make for one the best teas.
Darjeeling first flush teas have complex and fruity-floral aromas and a delicate taste with a well-balanced astringency. The leaves are smaller and have more greenish appearance; even the black tea of this season looks more like green tea in color. The experience of drinking a first flush is sublime. Tea lovers revere Darjeeling first flush as one of the finest teas made in the world – one of the reasons for Darjeeling often being described by connoisseurs as the champagne of teas.
Another important reason making Darjeeling first flush very exclusive is the small quantity in which it is made. Only around 2-3 million kg is made. The total Darjeeling production annually is about 9 million kg. The manufacturing of first flush finishes around mid-April. What follows is called the second flush for the summer harvest.
This year because of the erratic weather the first flush production was down by nearly 30%. A prolonged cold spell and drought conditions during the month of March – which is the prime season for first flush – shortened the plucking period.
Our first flush offerings are three teas so far from the USDA certified organic tea gardens of Risheehat, Puttabong and Sungma. You can find details, including tasting notes of these teas here FIRST FLUSH