Darjeeling, undoubtedly one of the most esteemed tea-growing regions globally, lies on the southern slopes of the majestic Himalayan Mountains, where altitudes soar to a remarkable 2,500 meters. Here, over 80 plantations craft some of the world’s most exquisite tea varieties, each a testament to the region’s unparalleled terroir.
Main Harvest Seasons:
First Flush (March – May): As the vernal season ushers in, following a period of dormancy, the delicate first leaves and leaf buds are meticulously plucked. These teas are characterized by their lively and fresh aromas, infused with delightful floral notes. Exceptional first flush teas occasionally reveal subtle hints of nutmeg, adding complexity to their profile.
In-between (May – June): Towards the latter part of the first flush season, a subtle transition towards the second flush begins to emerge in the teas. The leaves and infusions take on deeper hues, offering a diverse range of flavours, from full-bodied richness to slightly aromatic nuances.
Second Flush (June – July): During the zenith of the growing season, under the intensifying summer sun, tea shrubs develop heightened strength and aroma. A classic second flush Darjeeling tea exhibits dark brown to black leaves adorned with golden tips. The infusion boasts a soft amber hue, accompanied by an aromatic, full-bodied flavour. The finest examples of second flush teas carry a distinctive and prized note of nutmeg.
Autumnal (October – November): Following periods of late-summer rainfall and leading up to the autumnal lull in November, we savour fully aromatic but milder teas. These late-season Darjeeling teas offer a nuanced, comforting experience, capturing the essence of the region’s changing landscape.
In essence, Darjeeling stands as a jewel among tea regions, where nature’s elements conspire to create teas of unparalleled elegance and flavour complexity. From the ethereal first flush to the robust second flush and the comforting autumnal brews, Darjeeling teas provide a journey through the seasons, elevating the art of tea to new heights.