Darjeeling Tea is one of the most prized and most valuable teas in the world today. It has received a lot of recognition globally for its unique flavor profile and the experience it offers. I have been on this journey to understand and learn more about tea, and it has been so much fun. So, in a previous blog post, I talked about my experience trying the freshly roasted Darjeeling First Flush Black Tea. If you would like to check out that post, you can read it here:
A lot of times when you find tea in the market, it is has been roasted months and months ago, and the tea tend to lose its flavor with time. And if you are having tea bags, it is further down the chain. Bless the good folks at Dorje Tea for coming up with a tea subscription offering freshly roasted black and green teas from each of the harvest seasons. You can choose the tea you prefer – green tea or black tea, and every quarter you will get 250g of freshly roasted tea from that harvest season or the flush shipped out to you. In the blog above, I talk about the first flush tea, which was the first one I received as part of the subscription and today, I am talking about my experience with the second flush Darjeeling black tea.
Darjeeling derives its name from the words ‘Dorje’ meaning ‘thunderbolt’ and ‘Ling’ meaning ‘land’. So, Darjeeling actually means the land where the thunderbolt of Lord Indra – the King of the Heavens and the God of Rain and Storm. Sadly, today, there are only 87 fabled tea gardens in Darjeeling.
Let us do a quick recap of what flushes are and how things vary across flushes.
What are ‘flushes’ in tea?
For over 200 years, Darjeeling has harvested and processed tea in four ‘flushes’, most of which has always gone out of the country as tea exports to countries all around the globe. The seasons play a very important role in determining how fast the tea leaves would grow and how much flavor & aroma they would retain. Darjeeling tea has a very distinct flavor in every flush, which makes it a joyous experience to try out the changes in the tea at different times of the year.
What are the four flushes of Darjeeling tea?
The four flushes of Darjeeling tea are:
- First flush: A delicate Darjeeling cup with floral liquoring, harvested in the spring time
- Second flush: The true ‘Champagne of Teas’ with the characteristic Muscatel flavor harvested in the summer
- Roasted flush or Monsoon flush: A bolder cup harvested during the monsoon months
- Autumn flush: A bright cup with full-bodied flavor harvested during the fall
Usually, the first and the second flushes of the Darjeeling tea are the most prized ones and tend to fetch better prices in the market – both domestic and international, when compared to Autumn and Monsoon flushes. I would say each flush has its own charm and offers a unique flavor profile, a unique experience in every cup. But that would be my personal opinion.
What does the Darjeeling Second Flush Black Tea taste like?
With the onset of summer, the Selim Hill’s (the region the second flush Darjeeling Black Tea I am having is coming from) black teas start developing an amber color that makes it so delectable. The second flush, when prepared well, is known to capture the rare mind-blowing muscatel flavor.
The leaves of the second flush Darjeeling black tea are greenish brown, long, and bold. The tea liquor from the leaves is a bright deep amber like a newly minted copper coin. The liquor has a distinct floral bouquet for aroma with a medium body. The second flush Darjeeling black tea has a pronounced palette with a round, mellow flavor. There is a distinct sweetness to the tea that is the characteristic elusive, mythical muscatel that the Darjeeling teas are known all over the world for.
This second flush Darjeeling tea I am having comes from a section of the Selim Hill forest called the Meethedhare, which means ‘sweet buds’.
The Darjeeling second flush black tea is perfect for lazy winter mornings and gentle warm winter afternoons. The tea tastes amazing by itself, brewed hot and fresh. If you like, you can add a dash of lemon to it for an extra zing. You can try making a cold brew from the second flush tea too, and it does taste delicious but not as much as the cold brew I made from the Darjeeling first flush black tea.
How do I brew my Darjeeling Second Flush Black Tea?
I use filtered water at about 85 to 87 degrees. For 250 ml of filtered hot water, I use about 3g of the tea leaves. I let it steep for about 5 minutes, 6 minutes if I want a stronger cup. If I want a lighter brew, I steep it for 3 minutes. I brew the tea in a closed kettle, pouring it straight into my teacup once it is brewed and ready. Once poured, I let it sit in the cup for a minute of two, taking in the delicate aroma of the tea. Then sip and savor the cup of the amazing Darjeeling second flush black tea.
Cold brewing the black tea began as an experiment with the first flush black tea and I have taken a considerable liking to it now. So, I continued the practice with the second flush black tea too. Cold brewing brings down the bitterness of the black tea significantly. The cold brew is nicely astringent and brings out the delicate flavor notes of the cup very well.
If you would like to know more about the cold brewing works for the Darjeeling First Flush Black Tea, check out my blog on the same here:
Second flush black tea vs. first flush black tea
Compared to the first flush Darjeeling black tea, the second flush black tea is more full-bodied and bolder. To me, the second flush feels like smooth honey and a gentle toffee with a great floral bouquet on the nose. Like the first flush, the taste of the second flush black tea varies a bit with the brewing time of the tea. The flavors of the second flush black tea are more delicate than the first flush Darjeeling black tea but it is also a bolder cup.
Honestly, I cannot choose between the first flush and the second flush. Both seem to be really good, and both have their own unique taste. I am going to just sit back and enjoy both tot he fullest, and share some with friends. Happiness multiples when shared, troubles half when shared.
What do you think? Drop me a line in the comments below or find me on Instagram – @banjaranfoodie