When the British first brought tea to India, the original place where they decided to grow it was in Darjeeling. As a result of this, the various harvesting periods otherwise known as ‘flushes’ became synonymous with the taste and aroma a cup of tea produced during these stages. It was only after a period of time, after studying the weather and other conditions, that tea started being produced in the now famed tea growing region of Assam. Since tea does not grow well in cold weather, the sub tropical climate as well as soil of the highest quality soon proved to be the best conditions in which to grow tea in India.
For lovers of tea around the world, the word “flush” is not only very well known to them but they also impatiently await the periods of tea production in which these “flush” teas are produced. Though there are a number of such flushes, the numero uno out of these is undoubtedly the ‘second flush.’ It is during this time that some of the best cups of tea in the world are produced as a result of the amalgamation of the best possible weather conditions. Mentioned below is an analysis of the famed ‘second flush’ teas which are desired all over the world but acquired and drunk by only a select few lucky people.
All of the second flush teas in India are generally grown between the months of May and June. The period starts around the middle to third week of May and continues for the entirety of June. This stage generally follows the short rain spells and concludes before the monsoons make their way across the entire country for the next month or so. This is one among the many reasons which makes the conditions favourable and what make the second flush such a prime period for tea manufacture.
This is probably the main reason why the quality of tea produced in Assam is revered all around the world. The river Brahmaputra runs through the state of Assam which is situated in a low lying area. As a result, the soil here is very rich in minerals and makes it even more beneficial for the manufacture of tea. An old saying among the planters of Assam was “even cactus will grow into tea here.” Such is the quality of the soil.
After having experienced spells of rain along with sunshine, the leaves tend to become healthier as compared to the previous flush as the leaves get enough time and exposure to become mature. For such reasons, the cups of tea produced from these leaves tend to be fuller in body and have a richer and darker colour along with greater aroma. It is generally during this time that the tips appear to bear more of a golden hue as compared to the silver (for Darjeeling variety) which is predominant during the first flush. The Assams carry rich golden tips but only in the orthodox teas and not in the CTC variety.
It is during the phase of second flush that all tea gardens generally produce their best batches of tea. The quality of leaf from the made tea is also of the highest standard as per quality. Tea connoisseurs around the world eagerly wait for the second flush harvest in order to choose their perfect cup of tea. After all, there is no tea (generally speaking) which is produced during other months of the year which can match up to the tea standards which are produced during second flush.
This is otherwise known as the duration for which a particular tea can be kept in stock (after manufacture) before it becomes dangerous for any sort of consumption. As the second flush teas are the best in the world, some of them can also be kept in storage for longer durations than teas which are produced during this phase. Some of the most premium teas have a keeping quality period of almost 2 years. After this, these teas start losing their characteristics. Some have even kept teas longer than that but it would not be advisable to try such a thing.
As expected, the teas produced during the second flush command prices in line with their quality. After all, everyone wants to get their hands on the best tea of the year since it is not produced in massive amounts- especially when the number of tea drinkers around the world is taken into consideration. Which tea lover would not like to be sipping on some of the finest there is on offer!!!
These are the reasons why a second flush tea generally stands out when compared to teas manufactured at different times of the year. For anyone who enjoys their tea, trying out a cup of top quality second flush tea should definitely be on their bucket list.