First Flush Darjeeling


"Thank God for tea!  What would the world do without tea?  
How did it exist?  I am glad I was not born before tea."   
-Sydney Smith (1771-1845)
For an avid tea lover like myself, one of the best parts 
about springtime is the arrival of the first flush Darjeeling 
teas.  Darjeeling teas are considered "the champagne of teas" 
and are valued for their fragrant aroma and delicate taste.  
Even though there are some green and white teas produced in the 
Darjeeling district of northeastern India, the majority of teas 
produced are light-bodied black teas.  To enjoy their subtle 
flavor notes, I like to drink them without any additions like 
milk or sweetener.
These teas are called "first flush" because the leaves are picked 
(or "plucked") when the tea plants start to grow again in the 
spring.  The brand new growth of young shoots is called a "flush".  
So, "the first flush" indeed tastes like springtime - fresh and 
somewhat green with soft floral and fruity notes.  Some of my 
favorites even have a flavor note like bananas!  Ah, even a hint 
of the summer yet to come.
After a long New England winter, I enjoy this "springtime in a 
teacup"!  It revives and refreshes and inspires me to start new 
Do you like tea?  What kinds?