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If you visit Darjeeling between June and August, it’s hard to miss the buzz of activity ‐ it’s time for the summer flush here. The May‐June period ushers in the second tea harvest of the year.
While this region’s first flush embodies spring’s freshness, the second is where the tea bushes truly push out their best leaves. Teas from this season capture the boldness and flavors that have come to describe the best Darjeeling teas.
Second flush teas are almost always well rounded and full bodied. The liquor is fragrant and its flavors are of red berries, dried apples, peaches and cantaloupe.
No mention of summer teas from Darjeeling can be made without talking about the muscatels, that prized specialty tea. The muscatel is made from chinary teas and pack an extraordinary flavor profile. They have a dominant flavor of sweet red fruit, similar to the Muscat grapes, from where it gets its name.
The first ever Darjeeling estate to produce the muscatel was Castleton. Estates like Jungpana and Seeyok are now among those whose muscatels are sought after.