Differences Between First Flush, Second Flush and Autumn Flush

by Niraj Lama April 22, 2020 0 Comments

You might have heard us use the term first flush, second flush and autumn flush particularly when talking about teas from Darjeeling and Nepal. What do these terms mean? Very simply they are used to distinguish different tea productions on the basis of seasons. 

First flush is tea picked and manufactured during March-April. (So you are hearing a lot of first flush talk right now). Second flush is picked and manufactured in June-July and the autumn flush, as suggested, is tea that is picked and manufactured during October-November.

Tea character by flushes
Depending upon the flush teas have different characters in terms of appearance, body and taste. First flush has a lighter appearance both for its leaves and the made cup. The leaves of a first flush look largely green, so much so that it can be easily mistaken for a green tea if you are not familiar with it. In the cup the tea liquor appears pale, anywhere from amber to light golden hue. Far from a typical black tea.

Darjeeling first flush tea
The body of a first flush tea is delicate with flavors that can include floral (wild flowers), fruity (peach), grassy and earthy notes. First flush teas also tend to have a bit of astringency that provide a wonderful balance and crispness to the cup.

Steeping first flush teas at 176F (temperature that is normally reserved for green teas) for 3 minutes, using about 3 gm for 10 oz of water produces the best results.

First Flush tea
Second flush tea is a product of early summer. The tea from this season is considerably darker compared to first flush. Appearance wise it is more like a typical black tea. The leaves are dark brown and grey. A cup of second flush tea appears dark amber.

Darjeeling second flush tea

The body of a second flush tea is mid to heavy with aroma that ranges from nutty to fruity. There is one much sought after flavor note in second flush tea which is described as muscatel. It is supposed to be reminiscent of the muscato grapes. Notes that are commonly ascribed to second flush teas are almond, chocolate, earthy, rose, biscuit, plum.

Steeping second flush tea at 195-200F, for 3 minutes, using 3 gm to 10 oz of water, produces the best results.

second flush tea
Autumn flush tea looks quite a bit like second flush tea. Even taste wise they can appear very close and sometimes it is hard to tell them apart. Autumn flush tea is produced during October-November. The dry tea leaves look dark brown and grey like the second flush. In the cup, the autumn flush liquor has a bit of a coppery hue. The body can be a touch lighter than second flush.

Autumn Flush tea
For autumn flush tea the same steeping parameters used for second flush can be applied: 3 gm of tea for 10 oz water at 195-200F and 3 minutes steep.

Is "flushes" a universal term?

Very few things in tea are universally applied. Just like the various ways in which tea is consumed, tea manufacturing follows varied styles, standards and labels around the world. The term flushes are generally used for high mountain teas from the Indian sub-continent. In China, Taiwan and Japan the approximate term would be pre-Qingming, spring oolong and Sincha respectively. Taiwan is also popular for its "winter oolongs" which are produced during November.

Niraj Lama
Niraj Lama


Also in Blog

Recipe - Instant Iced Tea
Recipe - Instant Iced Tea

by Niraj Lama May 28, 2020 0 Comments

It's getting warm and toasty out there. Guess what's it time for? Iced Tea!!!

Let me share with you today a very easy method of making iced tea. It is a method we use at Leaf Tea Bar. It is a very easy way to make iced tea this way. There is no need to wait for the tea to cool, and you can make this practically with any tea. I love it with Darjeeling first flushes and other lighter delicate teas.

Read More

New Healing Herbals
New Healing Herbals

by Niraj Lama May 13, 2020 0 Comments

We are extremely excited to now be offering some Ancient Indian Powerhouse healing herbs... Ashwagandha and Triphala. These are some of the most important functional herbs used in Ayurveda, a 3,000-year-old natural medicine tradition from India. 

Read More

Staying Sane During Stay-At-Home
Staying Sane During Stay-At-Home

by Niraj Lama May 01, 2020 0 Comments

It has been around six weeks since we have been confined to our homes. Handling bosses and projects remotely, challenges of home-schooling, lack of socialization, stream of negative news and political rancor that refuses to diminish would wear out the best of us. Given that, I want to share some centering practices that may help you keep your sanity and find a little peace.

Read More