Darjeeling first flush tea looks greener – why? This is a common question that crop up the mind of any tea lover. Darjeeling blend is categorized as black tea but in its dry form, Darjeeling first flush has such greenish color that anyone can mistake it as green blend. In this context, we will refer to what Senior Manager of Risheehat Tea Estate, Mr. Kumar says. He explains the manufacturing of first flush Darjeeling. According to Mr. Kumar’s version, “After the freshly plucked leaves are carried to the factory, we wither it by 60-65 per cent. Because the leaves of the spring are very soft and silky, we roll it under minimal pressure for just 10-15 minutes. Next we do not hold it for fermentation/oxidation but immediately take the leaves into the drying chamber. Once the leaves are dry it is ready to be sorted and packed. This is why, because of very little oxidation, the first flush takes such a greenish appearance.” Thus, first flush blends are lightly oxidized unroasted form of oolong tea. Why then it is regarded as black tea? Well, the tea industry of our country is not much familiar with oolong tradition and the process of partial oxidation is a new concept to local tea industry. So, they refer this version as black blend still now. Manufacturing Process of Darjeeling Second Flush Now, let’s find out the difference in manufacturing second flush. Leaves of this flush are juicy and hardier than first flush. For 40 to 50 minutes, these leaves are rolled under great pressure. They are completely oxidized or fermented for around 2 to 3 hours. Earlier first flush was not produced in this manner. This manufacturing procedure is followed now. Germans influenced tea planters of Darjeeling for adopting a nuanced approach in tea production. As a result, this manufacturing change has occurred. Do you know which the prime market for Darjeeling blends was? It’s the UK where people liked to have tea with sugar and milk. Therefore, they needed a more robust blend and hence, high oxidation was done. After Independence, this influence on Darjeeling tea industry has diminished. How this first flush came into being? Germans realized that many flavors of Darjeeling blends were wasted due to a standardized manufacturing process. So, they persuaded some tea planters to minimize oxidation and rolling of tea leaves and increase withering. As a consequence of this, some teas were produced that have more aroma but lighter body. Due to this change in manufacturing process, many varieties of teas in Darjeeling achieved a tea profile of their own. Eventually, a ‘light and bright’ version of Darjeeling called first flush tea came into being.