I am a huge Darjeeling fan, specifically a first flush Darjeeling fan. The first flush of this tea is a mixture of floral and fruity than I love. The first flush is the picking of the two leaves and a bud from the early spring growth of a plant this usually occurs sometimes between February to April. The first flush is more delicate and lighter with a stronger floral flavour. First flushes are often less oxidised to preserve this flavour profile this means that even though Darjeeling is a black tea the leaves can appear more green than in most black teas.
There is a reason Darjeeling is called the Champagne of teas, Darjeeling is a protected term (tea labelled as Darjeeling must come from the Darjeeling district in West Bengal, India, the same way prosecco labelled as Champagne must come from the Champagne region of France).
So I ordered several different first flush Darjeelings from Tea makers of London, (the same company I got my glass tea set in the first picture from) as they have a decent selection of first flush Darjeelings. Here is my review and comparison of the three Darjeelings I ordered from them.
Glenburn white moonshine Darjeeling.
This Darjeeling is unusual as it is somewhere between a white and a black tea. As a fan of both Darjeeling and white tea this is one of my favourite teas of all time.
As soon as you open the pack there is a strong floral and fruity aroma. The leaves are wiry with silver tips. These leaves produce a pale yellow liquor that resembles a white tea more closely than a black tea.
Brewing method: 85 degrees for 4-5 minutes
My brewing method: 80 degrees for 5 minutes.
Taste: Floral and sweet with a slight fruity note of citrus. A true mix of Darjeeling and white tea.
Subsequent infusions: The packs says that this tea is suitable for one re-steeping, this is different to the East asian teas I usually drink which can often be re-steeped 2-3 times or even more in the case of some oolongs. The second steeping of the tea produced a nice floral and sweet Darjeeling but it was noticeably weaker than the first steeping.
Rohini First flush Darjeeling
The leaves have a subtle floral aroma and are wiry and mostly green in appearance, this is despite being a black tea as it is lightly oxidised. The liquor produced is pale for a black tea though darker than the Glenburn Darjeeling above.
Brewing method: 3-5 minutes at 85 degrees
My brewing method: 5 minutes at 85 degrees
Taste: Floral and sweet with a slight after taste of grapes.
Subsequent infusions: The packagins states that this tea can be resteeped once, like the Glenburn first flush this Darjeeling retains its flavour profile with the first re-steeping yet the flavour is considerably weaker than the first steeping.
First flush Darjeeling house blend
This blend is cheap for a first flush Darjeeling. At £4 for 50g which is considerably cheaper than the Glenburn white moonshine which is £13.95 for 25g or the Rohini which is £9.95 for 25g.
Unlike the other two in this article it is not specifically claimed that the tea leaves are from the 2018 harvest so I assume they are from a previous harvest. The leaves are darker and produce a liquor more reminiscent of a black tea.
Brewing method: 100 degrees for 3-5 minutes
My brewing method: 95 degrees for 3 minutes
Taste: Fresh and fruity with a strong malty aftertaste.
Subsequent infusions: This tea is suitable for one re-steeping. I felt out of the three teas this one kept more of its flavour when re-steeped than the other more expensive Darjeelings. I think this is because it has a stronger, less delicate flavour profile.
Conclusion: By far my favourite Darjeeling is the Glenburn white moonshine Darjeeling, it is delicate and a mix of two of my favourite teas Darjeeling and white. Unfortunately it is also the most expensive of the Darjeelings I ordered due to the small size of the Glenburn estate. Rohini is slightly cheaper and may be preferred by people who like black teas more than white having the characteristic flavours of a Darjeeling and being more a traditional black tea than the Glenburn but as it is only a few pounds cheaper than the Glenburn I personally would always choose the Glenburn. The first flush blend is my least favourite flavour wise but it is still very obviously a first flush Darjeeling and for the price it is incredibly good value.