Your Guide To First Flush Teas: Meaning, Brewing, Taste & More

The champagne of the teas, First Flush Teas from Darjeeling are amongst the most flavourful and floral black teas.  First Flush teas are prized and sought after by tea lovers all across the world, for their unique freshness and lightness, which only comes from the newly sprung tender leaves and buds that appear with the first showers of Spring in early March.

Did you know? Only 87 tea estates in the Darjeeling region produce just about 600,000 - 700,000 kgs of these truly rare and exceptional teas. Here’s everything you need to know about First Flush teas and why you shouldn’t miss out on them.

What does ‘First Flush’ mean?


The term "First Flush" refers to the first plucking season of the year which spans from late February to mid-April. This period infact,  marks the awakening of tea plants from their winter dormancy which yields tender young leaves imbued with unmatched freshness and flavor. In Darjeeling, this harvest season is eagerly anticipated as tea connoisseurs around the world wait for these teas to be available in the market.

The unique flavor profile
Darjeeling First Flush teas are especially known for their nuanced flavors and are often described as floral, fruity, and mildly astringent. The infusion has a pale, golden liquor with a fragrant bouquet reminiscent of spring blooms, evoking notes floral notes of jasmine, apricot, and muscatel grapes. The hallmark briskness of Darjeeling tea is delicately balanced by subtle sweetness, creating a symphony of flavors that perfectly sits on the palate.

Cultivating First Flush Teas 

The exceptional quality of Darjeeling First Flush teas comes from the region's unique terroir, characterized by high altitudes, cool temperatures, and abundant rainfall. These environmental factors, coupled with the expertise of local tea growers, contribute to the development of tea bushes that thrive in this mountainous terrain. 

The misty mornings and sunny afternoons of Darjeeling create just the right conditions for the slow maturation of tea leaves which decides the complexity and the flavor.

How to Select your First Flush Tea?

When choosing Darjeeling First Flush tea one should consider factors such as the estate of origin, leaf grade, and processing method. Opt for teas sourced from renowned estates with a reputation for excellence, such as Castleton, Margaret's Hope, or Jungpana. Additionally, also pay attention to the leaf grade, look for teas that have been carefully processed to preserve the integrity of the delicate leaves, preferably hand-plucked and minimally oxidized.

Brewing the finest cup
It's essential to brew the first flush teas with care and precision. Optimal water temperature, typically around 175°F to 185°F (80°C to 85°C) will help ensure that the delicate flavors are extracted without becoming bitter. A steeping time of 4 minutes allows the leaves to unfurl, releasing their real aroma and flavor into the brew.

Here’s everything you need to know about the First Flush teas. If you truly enjoy the uniqueness of these teas, don’t forget to get them as soon as they’re available to enjoy the fresh flavors of the season.


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