What is the tea harvest?
At this time of year (April-June) there is a great deal of excitement in the tea world as it is time for the tea harvest. Whilst the climate in some locations, namely south India and Sri Lanka yield crops all year round, for many regions the tea harvest happens just once.
As such, it is an important time - this is the moment when the tea farmers find out how their crops have fared; whether nature has been kind, and how the tea compares with the previous year. Just like when we talk about wine being a good or a bad year, tea crops are the same. The crops and harvest are both dependent on factors like sunlight, heat and rainfall.
When is tea ready for harvest?
A great deal of knowledge and experience is required in order to make the decision about when to harvest the tea. The earlier you pick the tea in the season, the better, but there’s a fine line between knowing when to pick the tea for optimum flavour and collecting it too early. On the other side, after a year of cultivating the plant, it can take only a few days for a bud to appear, open up, and grow into a large leaf. Waiting too long could result in missing the harvest window.
Once the tea has been picked and treated, it is ready to be packed. Finally it's time for the sourcing and buying to begin.
Good & Proper Tea Tasting
Last week we received samples of 2017’s Darjeeling 2nd Flush in the Good & Proper office. Flush is the word used to talk about the tea harvested after a dormancy period. To take Darjeeling as an example; the first flush happens in March - April each year (this is the first time that the plant has two leaves and a bud). The second flush happens May-June so we’re delighted to have been amongst the first people to receive samples of the tea.