Learn About Tea
Second Flush Darjeeling: Muscatel
October 11, 2012
Second Flush Darjeelings are to First Flush Darjeelings a little like what Banchas are to Senchas in Japan; like Banchas, Second Flush leaves emerge a few weeks after the First Flush passes. The tea plant has spent all of its stored energy on the new leaves: the First Flush. For several weeks the plant does not make any leaves as it regenerates energy from the existing leaves on the tea bush. Then in late May and early June, the plant starts to grow again. Though bigger and tougher than the tender First Flush leaves, they are full of flavor. However they lack sweetness and charm.
Darjeeling tea makers adjust their tea production methods from the First Flush to the Second Flush to accomodate the larger, older leaves. One trick is to let an special insect infestation to occur.These green leafhoppers ( Jacobiasca formosana) feast on the leaves right before harvest. The plants react by producing a special compounds to defend themselves. When the tea is made, these compounds create the dark stone fruit flavors that make these teas so special and wonderful.