Darjeeling Tea has a nickname: “The Champagne of Teas”. It is a name the renowned Indian district has earned after hundreds of years of producing superb-tasting Tea unparalleled in quality. The Darjeeling Tea Industry produces several ‘Flushes’ throughout the year, the most sought-after being First Flush Darjeeling Tea.
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However, all Darjeeling Flushes have their own unique qualities, including Second Flush, 'Monsoon' Flush, 'Autumnal' Flush and even, on rare occasions, a 'Winter' Flush. Seldom do two flushes taste the same, so it's vital to know the difference between each one before choosing a Darjeeling Loose Tea.
First Flush Darjeeling Teas are harvested from late-February/early-March until mid-April. Despite being Green in appearance, official Darjeeling First Flush Tea is a Black Tea. When brewed, a First Flush Tea usually offers distinct muscatel notes in cup with slight malty undertones; these flavours can change depending on the producing estate.
Second Flush Darjeeling Teas, meanwhile, are harvested between April and May, sometimes even June. The extended time before plucking allows the leave to take on a notably more mature and overall well-rounded flavour with slightly fruity undertones. Again, however, this may differ depending on the estate. Some say Second Flush Teas offer less astringency and make excellent afternoon Teas.
Regardless of when you choose to drink your Darjeeling Tea, it's worth noting that these fascinating brews have an equally fascinating history. Following the discovery of Indian Tea in 1823, a Darjeeling Tea Industry came into fruition some time during the mid-19th Century. By 1866, 39 Darjeeling Tea estates had been established with 1,000 acres of land being used for producing approximately 133,000 lbs of Tea each year.
After India rightfully attained independence from Britain in 1947, the ownership of most Tea gardens transferred from British to Indian entrepreneurs. However, between then and now, the district has experienced intermittent periods of political upheaval, which at times, has affected the Darjeeling Tea Industry. As recently as 2017, the latest eruption of constitutional turmoil in Darjeeling, now home to 87 Tea gardens employing 55,000 permanent workers and 120,000 during the harvesting season, saw a complete halt to Tea production over the course of several months. Today, the industry is finally beginning to recover, with The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company in full support.
We're calling on you, too, to support the recovery of the Darjeeling Tea Industry. The district has so much to offer your morning cup, so jump right in with our expansive selection and see which brew is best for you. Each estate, each flush and, of course, each Tea has something different to offer. Discover today.