From early March until April, the leaves will be picked and then hard withered to reduce the moisture content. They are dried on racks in a warm atmosphere. The tender leaves oxidise to some degree but only turn darker green for the first flush, rather than the copper colours formed from later flushes.
We eagerly anticipate the samples from India each year as for the first time, we get an indication of how the quality of the Darjeeling First Flush will be for the coming year.
Darjeeling has experienced many problems during the pandemic. Some gardens have been left neglected because of restrictions, making it even harder for them to produce top quality teas.
Sadly, some of the gardens have not been producing really high-quality teas for some time and have rather rested on their laurels. In our search for the highest quality teas, we like to teas from gardens that although not so famous have really pushed the boundaries and been innovative.