What is First Flush Darjeeling Tea?

Tuesday, 4 June 2019  |  The Tea Makers of London

Darjeeling Tea

Darjeeling is revered as one of - if not the - finest tea districts in the world.  Brews from this region are often referred to as the ‘Champagne of Teas’ and impart a gentle flavour. 

First flush Darjeeling, which is the name given for the first spring buds of the year, is widely considered to signify the start of the new season. The Darjeeling First Flush comes from the Himalayan foothills, where following the harsh, bitter winter, the first tea buds open with the first sign of spring sunshine. The first flush teas have a more pronounced floral aroma and offer a slightly more intense fruity flavour, distinct to Darjeeling.

Their arrival is a highly anticipated event in the annual tea calendar.

Darjeeling is technically a black tea. However, the processing of the tea is more similar to that of green tea - opting for minimal oxidisation - before being rolled in order to preserve the natural flavours.


The tea is much sweeter than most black and green teas. It is lightly coloured and has a strong, sweet scent. Darjeeling can be enjoyed hot or chilled, and its sweet taste means you won't need to add milk, sugar or sweetners!

Our 2019 Darjeeling range comes from the globally hailed tea gardens and estates in Darjeeling, India - Jungpana Estate, Glenburn Tea Garden, Doke Tea Garden and Singell Tea Garden.

Our other variety of Darjeeling is picked from the oldest tea farms in Darjeeling; Margaret's Hope and Makaibari.


The Darjeeling District

Darjeeling is located in the northern part of West Bengal in north-eastern India. The district lies in the foothills of the Himalayas and has a temperate climate with wet summers that are prone to monsoon precipitation. The name ‘Darjeeling’ stems from the Tibetan term for ‘Land of the Thunderbolt’. The unique agro-climatic conditions in the West Bengal area, result in a distinctive natural tea flavour with hints of muscatel that is internationally recognised and revered.

Darjeeling consists of hills and plains that contain forests, rivers and farmland. The district has a length of 18 miles (29 km) from north to south and a breadth of 16 miles (26km) from east to west, making the entire district a mere 1,216 square miles (3,149km2) - an area less than half the size of the land that lies within the M25 motorway. Darjeeling constitutes a very small area of India’s total 1,27 million square miles (3,3 million km2), and produces only around 1% of the total amount of tea made in India each year. Hence, Darjeeling teas, are an exclusive tea variety that must be savoured.

The hill area of Darjeeling is formed of rock structures and are prone to landslides caused by heavy monsoon rain. The soils in this area are extremely varied depending on the degree of slope, elevation, geo-lithology and vegetative cover. Hence, each tea garden produces a unique flavour of tea, which takes its qualities from the nutrients of the soil. Our Makaibari 2017 First Flush tea imparts a perfectly balanced flavour with the trademark Darjeeling hints of muscatel, whereas our Jungpana is more fruity and sweet and our Margaret’s hope results in a lightly astringent yet nicely balanced brew. The Glenburn white tea imparts a gentle yet enticingly complex flavour with floral and light citrus notes and a soft hint of cool mint.


2019 First Flush Darjeeling, Tea Harvest

Introducing, Singell Morning Mist - First Flush Darjeeling 2019

This 2019 First Flush Darjeeling from Singell Tea Garden is one of the best teas we have tasted this season. We simply had to share this new tea with you!

This tea is produced as a micro-batch, from the first spring flush of the third week of March and we are lucky enough to get our hands on a limited quantity of this sublime tea. The tea is so fresh and when you open the bag, the beautiful fresh aroma of the tea leaves will immediately transport you to the misty hills of Darjeeling.    

Carefully hand-picked dried leaves consists of only the most tender leaves and there is an abundance of silvery buds. These delicately tender leaves have been given a gentle roll, to preserve the full leaf appearance.

The long wiry dry leaf has a fruity and floral composition. The infused liquor is light gold in colour; that suggest that this leaf has undergone very little oxidisation, therefore it offers a light cup with all the hallmarks of a pure Darjeeling First Flush. This fresh cup packs a flavour with a complex floral and sweet notes that resemble peach and honey like flavours. 

Singell Morning Mist gets it distinct flavour as these tea leaves are picked from trees that are around 150 years old, they are known as the ‘Heritage’ section within the tea garden. These plants are also called the ‘Classic China Tea Trees’ or ‘China Jat’. With these unique characteristics and its distinct Muscatel flavours, it has created a  world-renowned reputation as a producer of the ‘champagne of black teas’.

Singell Estate

Singell Tea Estate is nestled in the picturesque northwest region of the Kurseong Vally in Darjeeling. Located about 5000 ft above sea level, Singell Tea Estate is one of oldest in the region producing teas since the 1860. With majestic views overlooking the great Himalayan mountain range the surrounding area are heaven for nature lovers. The estate consist of carefully preserved 150 years old tea plant as well as hybrid more productive, high yielding and weather resilient plants also known as “clonal”. 

Singell Estate is also leading its way in organic and biodynamic farming and the garden is also certified “Fair Trade” enterprise that operates various project to ensure the wellbeing of its 500 plus workforce. The manager at Singell Mr. Suba and his dedicated team take great care in nurturing the tea trees, harvesting and most of all consistently producing some of the wonderful teas Darjeeling has to offer. 

This tea is truly a treat!


This year's Glenburn White Moonshine First Flush 2019 Harvest

This sublime 2019 First Flush from the Glenburn tea garden in Darjeeling is nothing short of perfection.

This year's harvest began at the start of the season in late February 2019 and the leaves were plucked mid March; at the time where the leaf is most suitable for the Moonshine. The rising temperatures after the winter period slow down the growing process, which helps makes the leaf the most succulent and flavourful it is all year. 

In an ethereal and completely blissful sip, one is transported to the mystical and spiritual mountainsides of the Himalayas. The name ‘White Moonshine’ perfectly captures the essence of this tea. Every sip feels like a mouthful of midnight moonlight.Being a white tea, there is no oxidisation, which makes the weather a vital counterpart to harvesting a good quality leaf. The Moonshine requires careful attention and meticulous handling after plucking, which is why only the most experienced tea farmers rear this spectacular tea. 

Although closest to white tea, this single origin Darjeeling almost defies classification.

The long, tippy and elegantly curled, wiry leaves are  dominated by an abundance of silver tips and mossy-green buds. 

Words can hardly describe the lingering mix of sweet, floral, fruity and fresh aromas of this tea. As you open the packet and place your nose over the tea-tin, your nostrils are met with the most enticing of scents.

The flavour of this exceptional tea is gentle yet complex. The light, understated and playful taste entices the palate and leaves behind a subtly creamy mouthfeel. The tea imparts very little astringency and leaves you with a bouquet of refreshing impressions.

At first, you will detect subtle floral notes that develop into an intricate mix of gently sweet, citrusy flavours, ending with the softest hint of cool mint.  This truly is the champagne of teas. 

Only the most experienced pickers are allowed to work on this tea. Blooming from the mist that rises of the river Rungeet in April, Glenburn White Moonshine is made exclusively from the most tender shoots. Handled with extreme care, all natural health-promoting properties are preserved.

Glenburn Tea Garden

Located in the Himalayas, Glenburn is ethically managed by one of the most widely respected tea families in India. Two snow-fed Himalayan rivers - the Rungeet and the Rung Dung - wind through the estate and nourish the Glenburn tea bushes. The revered Himalayan garden was founded in 1859 by a Scottish tea company. Later, the garden was passed on to the pioneering Prakash family, who are known in Darjeeling as ‘Chaiwala’, the Hindi term for ‘tea planters’.

A place of natural beauty, Glenburn houses a plethora of natural flora and fauna - including fruit trees, wild flowers, rare birds and honey bees.

Workers employed in the garden have full access to health care and education. The garden’s code of conducts promises to uplift the lives of local people and to provide fair, ethical and clean teas to tea-lovers around the world.

The Glenburn garden grows its tea bushes in perfect harmony with the surrounding nature, using ethical agricultural practices. After hand-picking and post-harvest treatment, the tea leaves are packed with extreme care under controlled hygienic conditions.

At The Tea Makers of London, we are in constant pursuit of the perfect cup of tea. Glenburn White Moonshine 2019 First Flush Darjeeling is a very respectable contestant for this accolade.


And more!

New to Darjeeling tea? Then we definitely recommend you try our fresh and succulent Darjeeling First Flush teas, from 2019's harvests.

Margaret's Hope Morning Mist Darjeeling, No.28            

Niroula's Pine Oak Smoky Darjeeling, No.33                         

Rohini First Flush Darjeeling, No.29


Have you tried?

Our Great Taste award-winning Darjeeling First Flush House Blend, No.08?

The succulent, silvery leaves of this Darjeeling loose leaf tea offer a gentle sweetness and refreshingly astringent flavour, which can be enjoyed at any time of the day.

Also comes in eco-friendly teabags or classy individually wrapped teabags, ideal for meeting/hotel rooms!

Darjeeling First Flush is the seasonal highlight of the tea year - don't miss out this 2019!


Shop our Darjeeling teas today

The Tea Makers of London