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Darjeeling First Flush

 
Last Updated: Mar. 14, 2014 

About Darjeeling First Flush

First flush Darjeeling tea often has a greener color, sometimes even as green as some green teas. Photo by Alex Zorach.
Darjeeling first flush or first flush Darjeeling tea designates Darjeeling tea that has been harvested at a specific time, immediately following spring rains.

Although technically classified as a black tea, first flush Darjeeling tea has often a lighter, often greenish color and can be much milder than most black teas. Many first flush Darjeeling teas are low in bitterness, but relatively high in astringency, and can have considerable natural sweetness.

They often have a pronounced floral aroma as well, and some have a "muscatel" aroma, suggesting muscat grapes. In many respects, these teas more closely resemble greener oolong teas in color, flavor, and aroma because the oxidation is less complete than in most black teas. However, they are usually considered distinct from proper Darjeeling oolongs.

A cup of tea with a light golden color
A brewed cup of first flush Darjeeling. Photo by David J. Fred, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5.
First flush Darjeeling is considered a highly desirable tea, and can be very expensive, although the range of prices is broad. Broken-leaf, single-estate first flush teas can sometimes be less expensive than whole-leaf, mixed-flush, blended Darjeeling. Because the qualities of each tea depend on the climate conditions of the particular year of harvest, the batches can vary considerably from year to year.

Brewing first flush teas

In contrast to darker black teas, which most companies recommend brewing with boiling water, some companies recommend brewing first flush Darjeeling teas, especially lighter batches, with water that has cooled somewhat from boiling, around 180°-190°F. Whether or not this is necessary can vary hugely from one tea to the next.

Niraj Lama of Happy Earth Tea, explains that high grades of Darjeeling first flush work exceptionally well with cold brewing, which he explains on a blog post on cold brewing Darjeeling.

Recent First Flush Reviews — RSS rss icon

84 / 100
Picture of Darjeeling, Puttabong Estate, 1st Flush

A tricky-to-brew tea that reminded me a lot of green oolongs from Taiwan, and required a lower water temperature to brew to satisfaction.

The dry leaf, quite broken, is an intense green color, like a lot of good Darjeeling first flush. It looks exactly like pictured in the company photo (I appreciate honest photogra...

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88 / 100

With the most prominent notes being pineapple, cranberry, and lemongrass, this tea is almost like drinking tart fruit juice. I love it because of that, but I can see others disliking it for the same reason. I taste a bit of honey as well. First flush is stereotyped as floral, but I don't get a lot of that here. There a...

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87 / 100
Picture of Darjeeling de Triomphe Black Tea

I will likely revise this review after a few more times trying this tea. It seems high quality with a grassy quality, but I can’t decide how I feel about the bitter undertones. I generally am not a fan of bitter teas. To be fair, it might be a fault of my brewing. I do overall enjoy this tea, though, so long as it is...

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87 / 100

I loved this one.

No picture of this because unfortunately it was removed from Harney's catalogue before I posted my review.

The dry leaf of this smells wonderful, and unexpected. It smells more like an autumnal flush tea, with more malty notes and a sort of soft, rich, caramel smell. There are floral and caram...

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63 / 100
Picture of Arya Ruby Darjeeling Black Tea First Flush

I will always highly recommended Arya Ruby Darjeeling Black Tea to you as a great, refreshing brew – matching the high standards I’ve come to expect from Golden Tips Tea Co. Pvt. Ltd. following sampling their other teas.

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Read More Reviews of First Flush (42) ...

Top Reviewers

RankUser#%
1Reviewer icon Alex Zorach1935
2Reviewer icon Brytta Sóþword47
3Reviewer icon Kelsey35
4Reviewer icon Jose Luis Denis24
5Reviewer icon Sylvia24

Review 3 teas to get on this list!

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Most-Rated First Flush

No image of this tea

Darjeeling de Triomphe Black Tea

Brand:Teavana
Style:Darjeeling First Flush
Region:Darjeeling, India
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
90
3 Ratings
Picture of Singbulli Darjeeling DJ41

Singbulli Darjeeling DJ41

Brand:Harney and Sons
Style:Darjeeling First Flush
Region:Darjeeling, India
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
40
3 Ratings
Picture of Puttabong, Darjeeling First Flush 2014.

Puttabong, Darjeeling First Flush 2014.

Brand:Happy Earth Tea
Style:Darjeeling First Flush
Region:Darjeeling, India
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
6
3 Ratings
Picture of Singbulli, Darjeeling Black Tea, First Flush 2014

Singbulli, Darjeeling Black Tea, First Flush 2014

Brand:Happy Earth Tea
Style:Darjeeling First Flush
Region:Darjeeling, India
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
15
3 Ratings
Picture of Darjeeling Vidyaranya Black Tea

Darjeeling Vidyaranya Black Tea

Brand:Teavana
Style:Darjeeling First Flush
Region:Darjeeling, India
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
40
3 Ratings

Top-Rated First Flush

No image of this tea

Darjeeling de Triomphe Black Tea

Brand:Teavana
Style:Darjeeling First Flush
Region:Darjeeling, India
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
90
3 Ratings
Picture of Darjeeling Vidyaranya Black Tea

Darjeeling Vidyaranya Black Tea

Brand:Teavana
Style:Darjeeling First Flush
Region:Darjeeling, India
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
40
3 Ratings
Picture of Singbulli Darjeeling DJ41

Singbulli Darjeeling DJ41

Brand:Harney and Sons
Style:Darjeeling First Flush
Region:Darjeeling, India
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
40
3 Ratings
Picture of Singbulli, Darjeeling Black Tea, First Flush 2014

Singbulli, Darjeeling Black Tea, First Flush 2014

Brand:Happy Earth Tea
Style:Darjeeling First Flush
Region:Darjeeling, India
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
15
3 Ratings
Picture of Puttabong, Darjeeling First Flush 2014.

Puttabong, Darjeeling First Flush 2014.

Brand:Happy Earth Tea
Style:Darjeeling First Flush
Region:Darjeeling, India
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
6
3 Ratings

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