As we explored in our Darjeeling: The Champagne of Teas article, the loose teas that are produced in this region are considered to be some of the best in world.
In this article we are going to focus on the second harvest or second flush. It produces some equally fantastic, if not superior, teas grown in some of the most renowned tea gardens and challenging conditions in the world.
Darjeeling grows some of the world’s most exclusive teas at altitudes ranging from 600 to 2000 meters. First and second flush teas are usually grown from Camellia Sinensis Chinese variety. Camellia Sinensis Assamica is more widely grown in India. Using the Chinese plant combined with the Himalayan weather and soil produces this instantly recognisable tea which is world renowned.
Mountain terrain where the teas are grown make it significantly more difficult for tea pluckers to navigate.
The Darjeeling teas that The Tea House sell are often only produced in small batches and so are truly exclusive to us. Compared to the first flush, the Darjeeling second flush has a full, rounder, fruitier taste with a honey-caramel aroma and unique muscatel flavour. This flavour said to have been brought about by insects sucking on the stems of the tea plants. A flavour which no other tea seems to be able to produce. Second flush Darjeeling teas are also called Summer Darjeeling as it is picked during the first summer months.
Darjeeling teas tend to be priced much higher than other teas, this can be seen if you browse through our range of black teas. Darjeeling can command some of the highest prices in the world for its tea because:
- The mountain terrain where the teas are grown make it significantly more difficult for tea pluckers to navigate. Because of this, the process is much slower.
- Because of the conditions, less tea is grown and therefore there is less of it. Hence the exclusivity.
- Due to a more intense withering process and the leaves being smaller, Darjeeling leaves weigh less than other varieties.
- The ‘orthodox’ processing method that Darjeeling goes through is extremely time consuming and can cost up to five times that of the ‘unorthodox’ method.
Connoisseurs of loose leaf tea will never add anything to a tea like a Darjeeling. Milk (and sometimes sugar) is often saved for heavier, more substantial blends.
Darjeeling teas are different to other black teas and therefore should be brewed in a different way.Where we would usually advise a black to be brewed at 100° for around 3-5 minutes, Darjeeling’s should be brewed at 90°- 95° for a shorter period of around 2-4 minutes.