I guess I've never had first flush Darjeeling before. I just got in a
shipment from Upton today, the Special Arya Estate Organic Pekoe First
Flush (EX-1). I was a bit shocked when I brewed it and it was green
tea. Or is it? I went down to the website, and that tea is listed as
black. So is it that first flush Darjeeling is greenish, or this tea
in particular is, or that they made a mistake?
Ian Rastall writes:
I don't want to get into an argument over semantics. The important
thing is, they didn't make a mistake. As I've been saying lately, you
probably shouldn't brew this tea the way you would a "normal" black.
Darjeeling first flush produced just after dormant season. First flush
Darjeeling leaves are very tender and has light green appearance. The
liquor is very light but very bright and clear and also has light
yellow-greenish appearance with brisk flavor.
German and Japan tea buyers prefer this first flush more then second
and autumnal flush. Over all, foreign buyers like this first flush and
local market(South Asia) still like second and mostly autumnal flush.
What about the aroma? does it taste like green leaf, slight grassy
flavor? Darjeeling green teas can go through steamed or light roasting
to kill the enzymes. This processing gives Darjeeling green tea a
leafy, light grassy flavor.
You might or might not always had second or autumnal flush that's why,
you feeling this tea so light, green. Without tasting the tea, I can
say that it is a mistake by your vendor or not. Hope this helps.
First Flush Darjeeling is meant to be a black tea (fermented at one stage).
It typically comes with the green influx which sets it apart from other
seasonal(second flush,rain,autumnal) Darjeeling teas.
Still ,some First Flush teas can be greener than others and some of them
can certainly be too green depending on the buyers taste preference.
Ian Rastall schrieb:
Hey Lew. Do you have any tips of brew time/temp? I've never had FF
Darjeeling before, so I wasn't prepared for it to be so green. Perhaps
off the boil temp-wise, and only two and a half minutes time wise?
That would be my guess, if I had to make one (which, luckily, I
Hey Ripon. It sure seems like a Darjeeling green, rather than a
Darjeeling black, but if the first flushes are light green, with a
light liquor, as mine is, than I guess it's a black.
On Mon, 04 Apr 2005 20:34:05 +0200, KALLE GRIEGER
Thanks, Kalle. That was as I suspected. If I had known, I wouldn't
have bought it, as I take my tea with milk and sugar. But I'm sure
I'll love drinking it straight, perhaps in my yixing gaiwan.
I read the responses to your question. Let me add that there is indeed a
partial oxidation of Darjeelings, which places them by (Chinese) definition
into the Oolong class rather than the red/black tea class. Further, once
upon a time, Darjeelings were processed in a thoroughly oxidized way,
placing them squarely into the red/black class at that time. Nowadays, we
tend to see them in a less oxidized -- that is, a greener -- state, but they
retain their old classification as a black tea. Following what Lew
suggested, call them anything, just don't call them late for dinner. As
Ripon suggested, the darker, heavier types are more popular on the
sub-continent, while the greener ones are more popular here in North
America and in Europe.
Personally, I love those first flushes, and the more gentle and complex they
are, the better I like them. If you take milk and sugar in your tea, as you
say, then first flushes are definitely not for you until you put down those
I come to this discussion late, but I agree with Michael, on the whole:
first flushes are, today at any rate, processed like oolongs, and green
oolongs at that. They brew up a greenish yellow liquor, with delicate
grassy, herbal and floral scents. I got some of Upton's Arya Estate Organic
SFTGFOP1 First Flush (EX-1), and found it to also have a faint fruity
(muscatel) note as well.
Because these teas are so green you'll want to keep the water temperature
around 200F and the steep times short. Alternatively, steep them for around
3 minutes, and add a little sugar to offset the inevitable astringency.
This is how I make them for dessert - the sugar seems to enhance the
fruity/floral components, at least for me.
Ian Rastall writes:
Water boiling or off the boil, depending on how mild or aggressive the
tea is. Use the same number of grams as the number of fluid ounces in
your brewing vessel. Steeps are *very* short, and you can probably
get six steeps before the liquor starts to flag. How short? The
first should be somewhere between zero and 15 seconds. Thereafter,
gradually increase the steep length, paying attention to how strong
the liquor is and whether it starts to get astringent. I know this is
nontraditional, but try it. As I posted earlier, it changed some
minds in Darjeeling.