It is this time of the year that Darjeeling lovers really look forward to – the first flush season. First flush teas are the most prized of all flushes in Darjeeling and have a loyal following worldwide. The first flush teas have light colour, amazing aroma, light taste and mild astringent quality. They constitute 25-40% of Darjeeling’s annual production but in terms of value represent more than 50% of total revenues earned by Darjeeling.
The 2011 Darjeeling First Flush season had a rocky start due to the political developments in Darjeeling which were covered in detail by us here. The embargo last year on supplies of FF teas not only created scarcity in supply that promptly resulted in upward price movement of Darjeeling teas. After weeks of negotiations, the embargo was lifted and tea began to be dispatched. But it left a bitter taste in the mouths of Darjeeling connoisseurs and many of them shifted to Nepal teas.
This year, however, situation is very positive. All wage negotiations have been promptly completed and workers of many unions have been instructed to do there best for the industry. At the same time, the weather Gods are being favourable to Darjeeling. It has been very cold till 1st week of February, which slightly delayed plucking and production of leaves. But from 3rd week onwards, the weather started improving and many estates were gearing for production.
The lower level gardens of Rohini, Longview have started producing First Flush teas as there elevation provides them that advantage of being the first in the area to produce fine teas. From 1st week of March, we expect all gardens to start producing there 2012 First Flush Darjeeling teas. Last year, there was a marked decrease in production due to extreme weather conditions including including high temperatures and drought conditions.
We are working hard to bring the best of the best teas from First Flush season. Last year we had excellent teas which were highly prized by our connisseurs such as teas from Castleton, Thurbo, Okayti, Arya among others.