First Flush occurs in Darjeeling from March through to mid April, during this period the tea bushes have once again begun 'flushing' (read growing) after the winter dormancy period. Vigorous flushing occurs because the daytime temperature has risen 5 to 7 degrees Celsius (from 10/12 C to 20 Celsius); the hours of daylight have increased (the vernal equinox has passed); and despite the fact that the weather is dry there is excellent moisture retention in the soil from the winter rains. All these factors in the rarefied mountain air help produce Darjeeling teas.
There are 3 main times of year for producing good quality Darjeelings:
1st Flush - Springtime harvested teas from late Feb. to mid April. The young leaves yield a light tea with generally intense muscatel with 'point'. A gentle afternoon tea.
2nd Flush - Harvested in June, these teas are more fully developed. The liquor is bright and the taste full and round excellent muscatel. A superb afternoon tea that is specially good with scones and raspberry conserve.
Autumnal Flush - Not always available depending upon the weather, they are typified by a round taste and coppery liquor. Excellent as a breakfast tea with milk.