Sunday, 11 April 2010

Darjeeling first or second flush?

I’ve said this before, but I want to restate it: there are enough blogs for tea fanatics. I could try to write for them, or I should say us, but I don’t think it’d be nearly as interesting as what I’m trying to do.

Here’s my target audience: people curious about tea, but not into it…yet. I know so many people who only drink tea when they’re ill. Or maybe throw an aged tea bag in a mug periodically, but rarely. That’s who I want to attract here. With you tea freaks who come here and read this, I really do hope this is entertaining. But honestly, you’re the converted. You probably have your own tea blog and calcified beliefs and there’s only so much insulated in-the-know blogging we can do, right? I want to get everyone else on board.

Messner Monument Teemuseum, Hamburg

I was in a tea museum yesterday where they also had a tearoom. It was unbelievable how many apparently normal people had chosen to go out specifically for tea rather than java or beer even (this is Germany after all). I was the only one obsessively going through the museum, but then I saw this packed tea room with a line of more than ten people waiting patiently for a table to open up. For tea, no less.

Now, this was a tearoom looking out over the harbor and the view was spectacular. It’s entirely possible some of those people were there for reasons other than tea. Ok, but still. You should’ve seen this place. I could go on and on about the way they described and portrayed the different stages of tea production, or the different statistics about different tea drinkers and tea-drinking countries in the world.

Pub Quiz

Do you know which country drinks the most tea per capita? And beer? For beer, it’s not Germany but the Czech Republic. Do you know who drinks the most tea?

What I’ve decided to do though is more remedial tea issues and questions. If any of you who normally read this want to ask something, but don’t want to do it in the comments, send me your question in an email. My address is Am looking forward to your questions.

first or second flush?

I’ll deal with one common question right off: When I buy decent Darjeeling, what do they mean when they say first and second flush?

This is a good question and for a long time I incorrectly thought it had to do with brewing tea once and that was the first ‘flush’, then again and the second time you used the bag was the ‘second flush’. That’s not at all it.

The first flush comes from the first crop of tea plants of the year. The spring tea is first flush. Second flush is the next crop of tea in late summer or autumn. When we’re talking about Darjeeling, the second flush is normally a stronger tea. If you like lighter, finer teas, then you’re best bet is to buy Darjeeling ‘first flush’.

If you’re like me and feel like most Darjeelings might as well be hot water, then definitely steer towards the ‘second flush’ Darjeelings. They’re what I’m obsessed with right now.

Hope that makes sense. Or at least more sense. Was this helpful?


  1. Ireland drinks the most tea per capita =]

  2. Yes Sir Will.

    You win the proverbial prize. The Irish drink the most tea per capita.

  3. I was looking at Darjeelings today, well, Darjeeling really as it was Twinings at the supermarket.The flush wasn't mentioned. I thought that my new teapot might not condescend to that anyway. So I didn't buy any. Is Twinings worth buying? Yours etc

  4. When I first started getting interested in tea, Twinings was the only brand I knew, and I thought it was a good tea. I still think it's better than most tea on your typical supermarket shelf, so you're not going to get me to complain about them.

    I've heard less than flattering things about their tea over the years, but that's always from a tea snob. I was truly surprised at how virulent the dislike for this brand was.

    If that's the best loose-leaf tea available to you, try a package and do your best not to over-steep. That was the mistake I made for a long time. If the recommendation is brew the tea with boiling water for 4 minutes, do that.

    Please let me know what kind of tea you got and more importantly how you liked it.

  5. I've compiled a lot of information on The flushes of Darjeeling tea (scroll down on that page to see more detailed pages on each individual flush).

    There's also an autumnal flush. I've tried first, second, and autumnal flush Darjeeling teas...I have yet to try winter flush, in-between, or rains/monsoon teas (no page yet on rains teas but I'm hoping to make one sooner or later).

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  7. You've really helped here Alex. Thanks for providing that link.

    Last week, I was obsessed with new Oolongs. This week is filled with a plethora of Darjeelings. Right now I'm having a Darjeeling green tea. Until a week ago, I thought Darjeelings were only black tea.

    Both the Oolongs and the green teas from Darjeeling are really impressive.