Poets mark the onset of seasons with refreshing words to share the ethereal sensations with readers. A true nature poet is able to capture the change of season with great felicity. You feel the thrill of visual imagery seep in through the tapestry of words. Your senses are awakened to enjoy the essence of it. Something similarly magical happens when you sip a cuppa. Your taste buds revel in the aroma of the freshly plucked leaves and they give you a clear idea of whether it is the first flush or the second flush. The connoisseurs and aficionados of tea are able to feel the difference between the two.
Seasons arrive with special features. The changing of seasons is one of the most amazing occurrences that leave you spellbound. The smooth transition from summer through winter is one of the strengths of nature. Flowers bloom, leaves fall, rain and snow bring exotic changes in the landscape. A wide range of emotions are stirred deep within and you respond to what you see and feel with great sensitivity.
When you introspect further, you find nature has made the seasons diverse for a reason. These possess the unique power to bring out the best in everything you see around. One of the fine examples that illustrate this potency of nature is tea. Be it the sweet after taste of grapes or the floral aroma, the time of harvest leaves a big impact on the subtle nuances you relish in your cup of tea.
To begin with, first understand what flush refers to. The season of harvest is termed as flush. In India, there are five flushes – three major harvest seasons with two intermediary ones. And each season yields a tea that is unique, with a distinct personality. Each one remarkably different from the other. And each one equally enjoyable.
Also known as spring flush, first flushes are called so because they mark the first harvest of the year. The leaves and buds are picked around March, after the spring monsoons. First flushes are treasured by tea lovers around the world because of gentle, delicate taste, rich aroma, and light body. Mild astringency is another noticeable trait. First flush tea is usually reserved for export since it is popular across the globe.
Second flush Tea
Harvested in June, second flush teas are also known as summer flush teas. Because June brings the full glory of summer. The phenomenal muscatel teas arrive during this particular flush. The tea is usually full-bodied with a sweet, grapey finish. The second flush tea grown in Assam generates a healthy competition – with its bold body, deeper amber colours and strong flavours.
First Flush vs. Second Flush
Is it necessary to make a distinction between the two? Or argue whether the first flush is better than the other?
The truth is that you consider tea to be a matter of individual taste and preference. Some people like flavoured or blended teas and some stick to single estate teas. As we have discussed, the flush is nothing more than the specific product of the season – the first flush being the first crop and the second flush being the second.
Whatever be your preference, be it first flush or second flush, you need to remember that the processing style will also greatly influence the ultimate taste and appearance of the tea.