Seasons of TEA—Tea Flushes
The season of harvest is termed as flush. In India there are five flushes- three major harvest season with two intermediary ones .
Each season yields a tea that is unique and full of personality.
Also called Spring flush, first flushes are called so because they mark the first harvest of the year. The leaves and buds are picked around March, following the spring monsoons. Darjeeling first flushes are every tea connoisseurs treasure, owing to their gentle, delicate taste, rich aroma and light body.
Harvested in the month of June, second flush teas are also called summer flush teas since June brings the full glory of summer. The remarkable muscatel tea arrive during this particular flush. The tea is usually full-bodied with a sweet, grapey finish with its bold body and strong flavors.
Monsoon flushes are post the rains that follow the second flush season. The leaves are more mature by this time and the flavors lack the delicacy of spring and summer flushes. The monsoon flush teas of Assam and Darjeeling etc. are produced by the CTC method and used for blends such as masala chai
This brings the final harvest of the year, with the tea leaves picked around October. The Autumnal Flush these teas are quite delicate, despite being stronger than first and second flush teas. A cup of this brew bears notes of spices and has a full, rich body.
Observed almost exclusively in the Nilgiri mountains of southern India, these teas are harvested from December to January. Quite the undiscovered treasure, the black tea picked at this time from Nilgiri are intensely aromatic and pack quite a flavour punch.