Has anyone else noticed the change in First Flush Darjeelings?

First flush darjeelings are my favourite.

That being said, has anyone noticed how almost all the first flush darjeelings produced now a days are super green? It seems this trend started a couple years back, but now almost every estate is making their first flush super green. Which is a shame to me because you lose out on the muscatel notes.

I guess this is being done to try and create a bigger diversity between first flushes and second flushes, but still :(

42 Replies

I’ve been drinking FF Darjeelings for nearly 15 years, and the only major thing that I’ve noticed is how the top lots have doubled (or more) in price. :-[ Seriously, it’s not that hard to find FF’s that are less green. What I dislike more is when I drink a FF that tastes more like a SF.

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Very early Darjeeling First Flush (End Feb-Mid March) are generally greenish is appearance. These teas though very mild in muscatel notes are extremely aromatic and flowery. There is huge following for such Darjeeling’s which are extremely light and fruity.

I guess for tea lovers who have a weakness for Muscatel should try some early second flush Darjeeling teas.

I guess for tea lovers who have a weakness for Muscatel should try some early second flush Darjeeling teas.


Right…and this is where I tell you to F&^% off. 1.) I hate when tea companies leave ranked reviews of their own products 2.) I really don’t like it when a tea company comments in a discussion with a “buy our product” link.

Apologies as we have just started taking part in discussions. Have removed the link. However, since we cant post images just wanted to show the different kinds of first flush on our website with both light green and darkish leaves.

I think reviews from companies are helpful, but it is generally not considered good to rate your own teas since it makes it appear that you are inflating your ratings.

With that said, we love it when company reps are part of the community here and talk to us!

Dear Marzipan,

Thanks for understanding. Our intention was not to review anything but just to answer the question by ScottTeaMan through pictures on our website since the question is about appearance. That is all. We also believe in letting our customers decide on quality of our tea :)

I believe he meant on your ratings on this site, all of your ratings are for your own teas and have 100 scores.

Cwyn said

So busted…

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Dear Cywn,

There is nothing to be busted about. Our page clearly shows that we have only given the ratings and it hasn’t been done from any other fake profile.

When we 2 years back somebody from our marketing team must put the ratings as the concept was new back then and we were not aware.

However, if you read the text reviews they are exact copies from genuine websites which have reviewed us.

To mention once again, we are an old established brand and dont believe in such things. It was a genuine mistake.

Hope we can close this here.

Thank You.
Golden Tips Teas India

Cwyn said

I am responding here because you specifically addressed me, even though it was marzipan who pointed out the rather blatant abuse of the review system on Steepster, which unfortunately has a bad rep with tea bloggers already. Steepster is a tea company, and Tea Chat is run by Adagio, I have been rather surprised that the most active tea forums on the net have such close interaction with companies, but it is what it is. Personally I prefer it when companies use the Tea Companies and Promotions category to post, or confine themselves to posting directly in response to a remark specifically about their tea (meaning a specific product mentioned by a forum participant, not a tea category in general), or a company owner is posting under a personal avatar as a tea drinker. This is just my opinion.

Dear Cwyn. What you are saying is absolutely correct and we will stick to the same in the future posts. It was our first day here and we have learnt our lesson :)

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I don’t think there’s any need to show hostility here. I don’t think Golden Tips Teas was being disrespectful to anyone here. We are all adults and can decide to click a link or not. I personally get more offended by the rude F word comment above. But that’s just me…

Agree! I want companies to feel welcome here.

Same here Marzipan :-) as long as everything is legit… And when they aren’t, there are polite ways to report them.


Really the F word? I even bleeped it out myself. Just imagine I’ve said “Fudge” really really intently.

Please know that I have no problem with the F word in itself, as a matter of fact, I use it myself at times, it can be quite enjoyable…


I’m follow you, if you’d like to follow me back, I can send you Golden Tips Original message, and why I decided to use the “F-bomb”.

Thank you but there’s no need to really…you have nothing to justify to me. I’ve got nothing else to say here.


woah, well guess I’ll just post it here.

“Try the original First Flush Darjeeling’s from over 10 Darjeeling estates.

Delivered direct from Darjeeling at the most competitive prices.

Just have a look at our collection of over 100+ Darjeeling’s at www.goldentipstea.com/collections/buy-darjeeling-teas"

I get quite irritated with spammer companies posting advertisements and links, completely disregarding the conversation of topic. Clearly Golden Tips had just done a search for the word “Darjeeling” and felt like posting on my old topic. So I would hope you can understand why I get/got so frustrated.

I had really hoped to not post this here as I would still like a conversation about variations in first flush darjeelings and second flushes, but I guess you’re too busy courting tea companies for samples.

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We have removed all third-party tea reviews of all our products and have made a fresh beginning :) I hope this tell you about our intentions as a company and about a genuine mistake. Thank you and will look forward to your reviews. Please let us know if you want to bag samples.

Thanks for showing good intent. This is much more transparent for you as a company. Good luck on your sale, I think this is a much better avenue in order to get people to try your tea for themselves here and let THEM review here on Steepster ;-)

I checked your website, very nice…

Thank you so much. TheTeaFairy, can you please tell me how we can send you a personal message/email. This is regarding a few samples we need to send you for reviews :)


Thank you for sort of removing your ranked reviews, and for removing your advertisement.

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STFGFOP, as mentioned earlier we have edited the post. Please note that nobody has courted us for samples and we are identifying bloggers on our own.

We can’t to send tea samples all the way from India by express courier for the sake of a forum post. Its totally on the basis of credibility.

Request you to please close this now.

Thank you marzipan. This will be of great help to identify bloggers who can genuinely review a few of our indian teas :)


I would love to close this, and move back to the original topic of first flush darjeelings!, but perhaps you can understand why I got frustrated that I felt you hijacked (albeit my old topic) on Darjeelings with your advertisement.

When you changed your post (which I appreciated because your new post was more on topic), I got flack from TheTeaFairy. All I am doing is trying to explain why I got irritated.

I understand your point. Even if you would have messaged us politely, we would removed the link as we it was our first day interacting on Steepster.

Anyways, we would to answer any queries you may have regarding Darjeeling, Assam or any teas from India for that matter :)

Hope we could answer to your question.

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Cwyn said

Coincidentally, it was this topic brought up again that pointed out to me the green Darjeelings, because I have been looking at first flush Darjeelings recently when shopping 2014 harvest teas. I have thought to myself “these are awfully green.” I drank Darjeeling back in the 1980s, in the days before the internet (can you imagine that) when you couldn’t buy anything remotely close to the teas we have to access to these days. A Darjeeling back then, in an English-y looking tin, was about the best tea I could find aside from Lipton. And the Darjeelings were super dark compared to today. I have been considering trying Darjeeling again, for auld lang syne, but they are indeed green. I suppose the darker ones I drank had more to do with long storage, especially considering all the months traveling by camel and in hulls of wooden ships waay back in the 1980s and before (yeah I am being facetious).


I think I’ve suffered from the same bias! I had always known my first flush darjeelings to be very dark when I was growing up.

It wasn’t until about 5-6 years ago that I really had my first super green ones, that were still a ‘black’ tea.

Cwyn said

The Darjeelings I see now, I think I would drink them in the afternoon or evening, they are so light. Whereas the ones I remember were literally a coffee substitute in the morning, they were very strong. But maybe it is just more memory and not so accurate.


I think with globalization, we in North America and Europe now have access to a wider array of teas.

I also think though, that many of the estates are now diversifying more. Alot of Darjeeling tea estates are now producing oolongs, and green and white teas (I’ve even heard of a Pu-Erh).

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Thats such an amazing historic insight Cwyn :). Yes, there has been a transition in manufacturing practices by tea planters in Darjeeling which is majorly based on consumer demands.
However we would like to mention, the appearance does not change majorly with time in Darjeeling teas. It is actually a change in the manufacturing process which has led to the lighter green color of spring Darjeeling’s. If you also know, all major estates are now experimenting with green teas in Darjeeling as well, something which was unimaginable a few decades back. I am sure you will agree.

I suggest if you are looking for a dark Darjeeling, try an early second flush. If you browse through the pictures of some our our first flushe as well, you will find a difference in the leaf appearance of first flushes harvest early in March and the ones in April.

You like a delicate cup or a relatively full bodied cup?

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Excelsior said

The wide variance in taste, depending on the estate, is one of the main attractions which draws me to Spring Flush Darjeelings. Yet, this has not be so for 2013 and 2014. In 2012, the First Flush DJ1 Ambootia was a green tea with flavor more reminiscent of a Japanese Green than a typical Darjeeling. It was still a great tasting tea. In 2012, the FF DJ1 Namring was perhaps the best Darjeeling I have ever tasted. Strong in flavor hitting all the notes of a great Darjeeling, yet delicate in body exhibiting a floral scent.

The FF Darjeelings I tasted in 2013, maybe over 10 in total, were just not there in taste. For the 2014 FF Darjeelings, the teas are good, not great, and they are very similar in taste from estate to estate. I’ve tasted 7 2014 FF Darjeelings. I expect more from a Mariage tea with their premium price but even Mariage cannot control the lack of rain that has persisted in the Darjeeling region for the past two years.

For color, taste, flavor, and aroma, time does alter all of the afore mentioned qualities. With the passing of a few months after the leaves have been picked, the Darjeelings develop more body. After 1 year, the leaves start to lose much of the green taste. After 2 years, the leaves have lost much of the green color and the taste leans slightly towards a Summer Flush tea, yet not as robust, and leaner in body. Marriage chose to keep a limited quantity of 2012 Castleton as their vintage tea and I have been ordering and drinking this tea for over 2 years.

For now, I’ll wait until the FF Namring Upper, FF Jungpana, and the FF Margaret’s Hope to comes in to make a full evaluation of 2014 Darjeelings.

I don’t work for Mariage Freres. I don’t get paid from Mariage Freres. I don’t get any incentives from Mariage Freres. Having tasted numerous Darjeelings from numerous retailers, I still feel Mariage Freres offers the best tasting Darjeelings. This my opinion and will most likely differ from the opinion of others.

Very correctly pointed out. Some early Darjeeling spring teas recently have been very similar to green teas in appearance of leaf and liquor. However the classic aroma and flavor differentiates them completely.

We can feel your patronage towards the brand which must have been built on a good product. But we would love for you to try some Darjeeling teas direct from Darjeeling and feel the difference in quality as well as price. Tea does loose it a little character with time and the feel of a drinking a Darjeeling tea harvested 2 weeks back is exceptional :)


I’m still looking forward to your reviews on Mariage Feres. I need to place my order with them too. I might wait and see which ones you like the best; just to save on money.



I’d just tried this Gopaldhara. A little on the pricey side, it was very “green” (maybe slightly too green). I got some almond and pear notes, with slightly bitter green grapes.

Excelsior said

At this point, I would recommend the 2014 FF Namring and Ambootia. Yet as I mentioned above, all of the 2014 FF Darjeelings I have tasted so far have been good but not great. Just ordered some teas from Golden Tips and will let you know my opinions after I taste them.


Thanks Excelsior, unfortunately do to the earlier conversations, I’ve been a little put off, but I respect your tastes buds, so will look forward to reading! (and I’m off to order my MF now!)

Excelsior said

I would not recommend Chong Tong though. Unless you like an overly hay tasting tea. Yes, I read the ongoing conversations above but I will give them the benefit of the doubt. 80 years is a long time, but then Mariage Freres is celebrating their 160th year anniversary!

Cwyn said

After reading all this, I realize this is a complicated subject and I will have to learn more.



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