First flush is not an uncommon term for tea connoisseurs and enthusiasts. In fact, it is a much-loved term that is used when one discusses about tea. However, no one ever comes to the conclusion if first flush produces the best taste and flavour, mainly because tea is an all-year-round crop. The aroma, taste, quality, colour varies with time of harvest, season, altitude etc. so it is difficult to pin the taste and quality to just one factor.
Well, if you are new to the term first flush, let us first define it for you:
The very first picking of tea leaves during the later part of winter or spring is referred to as the First Flush
A tea lover such as yourself will benefit a lot by learning about what a first flush tea and how it tastes and its advantages so you can make much more informed choices on the type of tea you purchase and enjoy, so let’s dive deeper into this area.
More about First Flush Tea
Tea plant is a year-round crop that is harvested thrice a year – hence the names first flush, second flush and autumn flush. The first flush harvest is considered as the prized harvest of all. Tea connoisseurs agree that the methods of preparation, time of harvest make the first flush, a delicacy. First flush tea has a fine nuanced flavour profile and a mellow yet fragrant aroma, thus it is fondly referred to as the ‘Lover’s Bush’.
The very first picking of the young tender tea leaves mostly in the later stages of winter or early spring (late February through April) results in some of the purest cups of tea. It is considered as a signature, premium cup of tea that is priced higher than other tea grades. The first flush Darjeeling variety is called as the ‘Champagne of Teas’.
Benefits of First Flush Tea
First flush which is composed of the freshest tender tea leaves has many health benefits that is unique to it which might not necessarily be found in the second or autumn flushes. Taste, mouth feel and purity are the top 3 benefits of the first flush. The antioxidants present in the young leaves help in promoting a healthy life.
Abundance of antioxidants
First flush tea has the highest concentration of antioxidants such as polyphenols and catechins as the tea plant retains the same throughout the winter. On the other hand, the shelf life of first flush is not as much as the other flushes. Shorter shelf life yet higher antioxidants make it a delicacy of sorts among tea varieties.
First flush teas while having higher concentration of antioxidants also has higher levels of caffeine. This means the body gets instant energy to perform more tasks, hence boosting one’s metabolism.
Strengthens Immune system
First flush tea contains Theanine which is a compound that strengthens the immune system. This prevents the body from infections by helping it to actively fight against it. It is also known to improve the blood flow in the body.
Why do tea connoisseurs favour first flush?
Tea enthusiasts prefer first flush over any other because it is considered as a superior variety. It has a lighter shade of brew, much like green tea. Thus, it has an appearance of a lovely golden than a deep red like black tea. The first sip brings out taste notes of floral, fruity and grassy with earthy undertones. There is a slight astringency balanced by a sort of crispiness which gives it a unique flavour profile. The first flush reminisces one of new rain, new blossoms and fresh tender tea leaves, creating a huge demand for it by tea connoisseurs.
Which is the best flush?
Having read about the first flush, you might be convinced that it could be one of the best teas owing to its unique flavour profile. You might even yearn to try it out soon. Most tea enthusiasts wait eagerly for the right season to purchase the first flush and some enjoy digging deep into its origin. Some people prefer the latter flushes as the choice varies from individual to individual. Chai lovers who love bold and strong fruity flavours prefer the second flush. So, you could go ahead and try a first flush tea to know which one you really like. No matter which flush you might like, remember that tea makes the world a better place!