First flush Darjeeling tea is grown in Darjeeling in West Bengal. Although it is mostly sold as a black tea, Darjeeling green teas, white teas and even oolongs are being more widely produced as of late. Darjeeling teas as a whole only makes up about 1% of all of India‘s tea output, and the demand heavily outweighs the production. It‘s actually sometimes nicknamed the champagne of teas!
The reason behind the name ‘first flush‘ is actually to do with when the leaves were picked during the years harvest. First flushes are the first leaves to be picked in the spring. The leaves are usually harvested starting mid-March. It‘s the youngest part of the crop and has a very light and clear colour, a light taste and a floral scent; the taste is gentle and is preserved by being left to oxidise for a shorter amount of time, also leaving the colour of the leaves to have more of greenish tint than most black teas.
The planting of tea in the Darjeeling area didn‘t begin until 1841, when Archibald Campbell was transferred as a superintendent in Nepal to Darjeeling, bringing with him the seeds of a Chinese tea plant and later experimenting with growing them in Darjeeling.
There is a growing issue in the tea industry, with tonnes of counterfeit Darjeeling tea being sold each year, with around 40,000 tonnes being sold yearly, whilst the actual production of Darjeeling tea is four times less, reaching only 10,000 tonnes – that‘s 30,000 tonnes of counterfeit Darjeeling sold each year. As an attempt to prevent this, the Tea Board of India issues a certification mark/logo to real manufacturers, therefore giving a mark to show that the tea is, in fact, genuine Darjeeling tea.
In a recent study, 80% of staff claim they find out more about what’s going on at work over a cup of tea than in any other way