Tea Craft: Growing the Tea Bush

Tea cultivation is a modern science - new bushes are propagated from the best tea bushes, creating ‘clonals’ - cultivated variants or cultivars for short. The parent bushes may have been chosen for natural drought or pest resistance, helping farmers economically.

The new plants go to nursery for up to 2 years, and are then planted into a small segregated area of the tea garden, where they be left unpicked for a further 2 years until they reach roughly the height of a picker.

From then, regularly pruned down to a metre in height, the bushes will start to grow sideways and become the familiar sea of bright green leaves.

In 3 to 5 years of pruning, the tea plants are ready for their journey to the cup.

Find out more about when tea is picked.


Darjeeling First Flush 2021 Puttabong Estate Loose Black Tea Pouch 40g

Net Weight: 40g

The 2021 vintage Darjeeling First Flush is from the high elevation Puttabong Estate. Under the expert eye of our Tea Master, trained pickers have carefully handpicked just the succulent first leaf and bud.

The East India Company - Lifestyle


The Darjeeling region of north-east India is on the border of China, Bhutan and Nepal in the foothills of the mighty Himalayas and Mount Everest. The teas are produced at a higher elevation than any other tea variety and have a unique flavour and special aroma.

For 2021, we have chosen teas from the Puttabong Estate, twenty two rolling kilometres known as “Queen of the Hills”, overlooked by the towering Kanchenjunga mountain.

It was the East India Company pioneers who founded the garden in 1857 and today more than 1500 men and women grow, tend to and harvest the tea, using only sustainable methods.
Himalayan winters are bitterly cold, but by the time the early spring sunshine ventures through the region’s crystalline air – creating an effect known as “the Darjeeling mist” - the tea bushes flourish with tender shoots.

The first Flush [meaning harvest] grows best in tea estates which enjoy a warm climate and humid soil, and a rainfall of at least 100 centimetres a year, says Tea Master Lalith Lenadora.

“Ideally, she likes deep, light, acidic and well-drained soil. These conditions help to ensure a good crop. As with any crop, unusual weather can cause problems – this is why the tea varies slightly each year."

The 2021 crop experienced an unusually warm, sunny climate, and with the the arrival of some welcome spring rain, all conditions were met for a vintage year.
Tea Master Lalith Lenadora's Tasting Notes:

I have now had the privilege to taste fresh Darjeeling First Flush 2021,” he says. “When properly brewed, the infused liquor has a bright, light gold colour in the cup. In regard to taste, a touch of floral as well as a subtle fruity notes, complete with a pleasingly gentle sweetness. It leaves a clean finish.

Although this tea is commercially marketed as a ‘black tea’, it has gone through the lowest possible fermentation process to categorise it as one,” Lenadora adds."
This is in order to preserve the tea’s inherent Darjeeling character.

The unique flavours of Darjeeling come from Chinese tea genetics mixing with the Indian terroir, in addition to the intricacies of harvesting and processing, says Lenadora.

It is lighter and less astringent than most black tea, but more layered and complex than most teas processed in other parts of India.
We recommend brewing two and a half teaspoons’ worth in 210ml of water at 80 degrees Celsius, for a period of four minutes.

Ensure you have a clean palate beforehand – a tea this rare should be savoured in full – and do wait for the tea to cool from the infusion process.

As a rule, if the cup is too hot to hold, it will be too hot to drink, as your fingertips and lips share similar sensitivity to heat.
Once ready, inhale the tea’s delicate aromas through the nose from the bowl of the teacup to saturate your lungs.

Then, take a first sip of the liquor using just the tip of your tongue to experience the tea’s unique sweetness.

For your second sip, gently roll the tea across your tongue, allowing flavours to come alive across your taste buds whilst savouring the tea’s unique mouth feel.


Black Tea


Store in a cool, dry place avoiding direct sunlight and strong odours.


Darjeeling Tea - How it started

The British needed tea from an alternative source to China. They did, to Darjeeling's benefit, thanks to 2 officers of The East India Company.

Robert Fortune was a Scottish botanist. He knew China well and had survived hair-raising adventures. He was a Mandarin speaker and blended in with his choice of Chinese attire and appearance and he would carry out The East India Company’s strategy to bring tea cultivation and knowledge to India from China.

Incognito, Fortune extraordinarily managed to smuggle out of China more than 20,000 seedlings and plants.
These Chinese tea plants, Camellia Sinensis, together with a wild variety from in Assam, were planted in Darjeeling in 1841 by Dr Archibald Campbell, who was establishing a hill station for the British stationed in Kolkata. One year later, 2000 plants were growing in 3 experimental gardens. Back came Fortune to review progress and it was found to be the Chinese variant, from similar higher altitudes than the warm, humidity-loving Assamica variety, that was flourishing.

The first commercial tea gardens opened in 1856 and the rest is history.

Our spirit delivers no ordinary products

  • FAQ

    What does ‘Flush’ mean when used to describe Darjeeling teas?
    Flush simply means harvest. There are 3 main flushes or harvests in Darjeeling each year. The first Flush takes place in early Spring, this is the earliest crop and a distinctive and rather feisty prized tea around the world - The Beaujolais Nouveau of tea. The second Flush happens in early summer, the tea producing a more rounded, mature flavour, whilst the last Autumnal flush of October and early November delivers a bolder, fuller flavour and a copper liquor.

    Where is Darjeeling?
    The small Indian city of Darjeeling lies within West Bengal, at an altitude of 7000 ft in the Eastern Himalayas. It is the administrative centre of the Darjeeling region, where today, 87 tea gardens can found, producing some of the finest teas in the world.

  • Delivery & Returns

    UK Standard Delivery: £3.95
    UK Next Day Delivery (mainland UK only): £9.95 (Order before 12pm)
    International Delivery is available, please see our delivery page for details. For more information and Terms & Conditions, please see our Delivery page.

  • Reviews

Darjeeling First Flush 2021 Puttabong Estate Loose Black Tea Pouch 40g

£25.00 Sold out
£77.00 £77.00