Tea – this beautiful drink that we take, comes from the evergreen Tea shrub/plant ‘Camellia sinensis’. As per recorded history the capacities in the plant was first discovered some three thousand years back in South Eastern China and slowly it spread as a delightful beverage throughout the world.
The love for the elixir made the British to do some industrial espionage and bring the seeds of Camellia sinensis to the foothills of the mighty Himalayas – Darjeeling. India to have her own Varietal of Tea the Camellia sinensis – Assamica variety in the Brahmaputra Valley of Assam. Together we got what in tea today is ‘Darjeeling and Assam’.
Talking about Darjeeling tea the question that comes in mind is ‘Why Darjeeling?’ The seeds must have been taken to different places, with loads of effort to nurture them and besides there was always its native origins – but still why Darjeeling?
An answer to this lies in what Darjeeling is and what it renders to this plant. On its part the plant to draws from Darjeeling and builds in its character.
With an altitude of about 1200 ft above sea level, steep slopes, ample humidity, rainfall, shade, mist and acidic soils – Darjeeling is blessed with that unique terroir which infuses ‘magic’ into its Tea plants.
After a brief period of dormancy in winter, the Darjeeling tea plants throw out new leaves in spring around late Feb to mid April which when harvested constitutes the First Flush. The conditions build a character in tea which is mellow, pale in colour, mildly astringent and has an inviting flowery aroma.
Following the first flush, an ‘in-between’ period - late April to early May - sprouts new shoots which on harvest forms the ‘in-betweeners’ between flushes. The collection doesn’t build really good character and constitutes making for low grade tea.
Come Summer – late May to June, the plants grow new leaves again and this wonderful pack yields a liquid which has full body, a bright colour and a wonderful muscatel character – the famed Second Flush.
As the rains lash down from July until September the plants take in the moisture to their fullest and then burst out another set of new leaves thus forming the Monsoon flush. The leaves are less withered and build less in character which is mostly used in blends owing to a strong flavor.
As October approaches and the incessant rains wind up, the plants let out another set of leaves till November which on harvest forms the Autumn flush with lesser character. The flavor is mild, less body, yet deeper colour.
After November the plants get dormant – you say they are sleeping – till spring when Nature calls them to work and the cycle starts with first flush again.
Ofcourse the road is not easy and a lot of painstaking effort goes into nurturing this wonderful blessing of Creation. A lot of human factor with Management, community participation, sometimes with even whole families getting engaged - come together to build this beautiful beverage.
At Jayshree Tea we have made an effort to bring this organic beverage to the world with people’s participation and direct inputs from Nature. So when you are drinking First Flush Balasun Black Tea or Second Flush Sungma Organic Black Tea you are actually taking in those beautiful moments of rain, mist, air and sunshine together with people’s nursing which had all gone into building this wonderful cup of Darjeeling Tea.