The most prestigious of black teas, Darjeelings are characterised by high grade whole leaves that beautifully reflect the season in which they were harvested. Located at the edge of the Himalayas in the state of West Bengal in north India, Darjeeling is home to 87 tea estates with some established as far back as the mid-1800s.
The cool temperatures and high altitudes of Darjeeling combine to create highly acclaimed aromatic flavours sometimes associated with muscatel grapes thus earning the title ‘Champagne of Teas’. Because the production of high quality Darjeeling leaves is so small in relation to India’s total output (1.13%, or 0.36% of the world’s tea production), the integrity of the tea is protected by Geographical Indication and trademark to discourage counterfeit Darjeelings.
Flavours of Darjeeling teas will vary depending on the season, in which the leaves are grown and harvested, otherwise referred to as a “flush”. The First Flush occurs from late February to mid-April where young leaves exhibit the freshness of a springtime harvest. Although considered a black tea, many First Flush teas may have green tones interspersed through the leaves, which lend themselves to a more delicate brew. Various gardens may produce different results but First Flush Darjeelings are generally defined for their sparkling pale infusions, offering the light taste of green muscatel notes.
A short dormant period then takes place, after which, the buds surge again to produce the Second Flush. This occurs from May to June. With leaves usually darker in appearance, the tea presents a more constructed yet complex flavour profile. The liquor is bright and well-rounded with fruity notes and a more pronounced muscatel character. Many consider a Second Flush Darjeeling the perfect afternoon tea.
Finally the autumn harvested Autumnal Darjeelings are produced from October to November. Large leaves produce a coppery brew that is quite nice and round in taste. Because of the slower growth, the buds contain more sap, which creates fruitier notes. Typically slightly stronger than the Second Flush, but still fairly delicate in its own right, many will enjoy Autumn Flush as a breakfast tea that allows for just a dash of milk.
To add to our existing range of Darjeeling teas, The Tea Centre is pleased to introduce two of our very own Darjeelings created from a specially chosen blend of leaves sourced from tea gardens across the region. These stunning blends come as a First Flush and Second Flush. Both graded as a Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe, this is an indicator of high quality and exceptional flavour.
The Tea Centre First Flush FTGFOP 1: The Darjeeling connoisseur’s favourite flush, this harmonic blend does not cease to impress from dried leaves through to infusion. The fresh spring fragrance of the first harvest resonates in both the flavour and aroma as hints of floral and delicate fruit notes intermingle to create a lively cup.
The Tea Centre Second Flush FTGFOP: A rich, highland Darjeeling, which exhibits deeper fruit flavours that murmur faint woody undertones. An evidently more developed and round taste, this Second Flush Darjeeling is much fuller in body when compared to its First Flush counterpart. This is a refined cup that exudes the bright essence of a sub-tropical summer harvest.