Second Flush: The brew of mountains

“Ah! That’s the flavor; I bet that’s a first flush.”

“No, it’s not. Look at the color of the brew, it’s a bit darkish. This has to be second flush.”

And then we both took our first sip. Both were trying to move the liquid around our tongue and trying to breathe in the oxygen, and then I felt it the odd muscatel flavor. It is definitely a second flush.

Well, the story goes like this. I love tea and so does he. It was a love at first brew! But I could practically never distinguish between the tastes and flavors, so it was he who told me about First Flush, Second Flush, Third Flush and mid flushes.

My visit to Darjeeling and Assam had only confirmed my love for the tea that I liked. Well, the light brew and the soothing flavors of Darjeeling tea was for the morning freshness, but if you are a coffee lover and would rather settle for a hard taste and flavor ensemble it should be nothing less than the second flush tea. They come in with all premium costs and fine rich flavor, as my friend asked:

“So how much do you know about tea and the tastes?”

Me: “Well, a bit. That is, I like a very light brew with flavor. I also like green tea and of course some varieties of white tea.” I trailed off. He was smiling. I knew very little and it was apparent. Smug, that’s what it was, I decided.

“That’s a lot indeed!” He said.

I knew it. It was smug. I listened on. He continued:

“Well, you see like First Flush tea leaves which are plucked between February till May, Second Flush too has its season. The leaves are full bloomed and are plucked from mid-June to mid-August. Darjeeling, Assam, Nilgiri; they all are plucked around the same time of the year. Only Nilgiri variety stretches up till mid-September. Assam tea is from low lying areas and thus the season ends in late August. The best of course, according to my taste bud is Darjeeling and that too ends in August.” He said.

Me: So which one is the best variety?

“All of them have some specialty or other. But if you ask me, I will say, for your first experience go for Darjeeling. The brew would be a bit darkish in color and has a muscat grape flavor. The leaves have a deep purplish bloom. You see, this flavor is unique and nowhere in the world do we get as good as this. This unique flavor is the product of a green fly or Jassids infesting the leaves and of course the soil. The flavor is a direct result of chemical reaction of this infestation. Amazing laws of nature, isn’t it. This is how different species are cohesively balanced.”

Me: Is the Darjeeling variety the only one worth tasting?

“All the variety have special aspects. For example: The Assam variety, incidentally it’s also called Tippy Tea. The leaves have a golden tip, hence the name. The brew has a heavy malty taste with a dark brown brew.

Me: This is the brew we can drink with a dash of milk?

“Yes, and with cream too, if you prefer. The brew is a bit heavy and has a bit of caffeine taste. Brewing time too is a bit more than the typical first flush. Its almost 4 mins. So it’s a rich blend of flavor, liquor and taste. They have best of varieties in green and black teas, and Dear Lady, do drink it in leisure after breakfast. Best time of the day for such a rich brew.”

There I was, sitting at the beautiful bungalow, with full view of the mountains in front, and a beautiful cup of second flush, Darjeeling tea. I sipped and felt the beautiful muscatel flavor. The concoction was a hit and I sipped on listening to the chirpy birds. Ah! Second Flush and the brew.

Mohua Roy

Travel Blogger and an addictive tea drinker.

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