What makes spring teas so special?

In the world of tea, spring flush is like  Christmas – something that all the tea heads are waiting for and hoping to get their hands on before it’s all gone, but why is it like that? What makes spring teas more special?

What is spring flush?

The term “flush” refers to the period when the plant produces its first buds of the season. Generally, the harvesting season is divided into three flushes - spring, summer, and autumn flush. The number of flushes can be different depending on the tea and the region though.

Spring flush, April 2020, Renegade Tea Estate

6 months of dormancy

Spring flushes can vary depending on the geography. The dormancy in our plantations lasts for 6 months, from around mid-October until mid-April – this is the period when nature in Georgia is in  “sleeping mode” – nothing is really growing and the tea plant, as well as the land, recovers from the productive period. Although tea bushes are not growing, some important processes are still taking place during that time.

Personal tea bushes of our customers and Indiegogo supporters in Mandikori Estate, February 2020

Packed with nutrients, flavours, and aroma

For example - to start the first growth after the dormancy, plants send a higher concentration of essential oils and amino acids to the new shoots, which leads to the refreshing and sweeter taste notes. Which by the way, are the main characteristics of the spring teas. During the winter period, the plant has soaked in lots of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and has stored up some sugar to prepare itself for growth. First pluckings are usually made when it is still rather chilly outside, so the plant hasn’t started to grow on its full speed yet. This means that the first harvests are packed with all those great components, which in result are representing the main characteristics of spring teas.

First flush in Renegade Community garden, Rioni Estate, April 2020

As the season progresses and temperatures rise, there will be also chemical changes in the leaves. The concentration of the sweet amino acid drops and the amount of antioxidants, that plants produce to protect them from intense heat and sun, increases. While antioxidants are beneficial, they are also bitter, giving the summer teas a more intense profile. 

The fact is that spring teas are packed with aroma and flavour that you will not find from the latest flushes. Refreshing, sweet, smooth, creamy and mellow are some of the words describing spring teas. Although Georgian teas, in general, are smoother and sweeter compared to the teas from other regions, Georgian spring teas are even more delicate and packed with refreshing flavour and aroma. The smell of spring teas can often remind you of some exotic fruits and flowers.

First flush in Renegade Tea Estate 

This year the first flush in the Renegade Tea Estate started at the beginning of April. Our first plucking was made on the 10th of April, which is 11 days earlier compared with our last season. Until now, we have managed to produce a few batches of  “Cold Spring” - white tea that is known already from last season. We have also made some test batches of bilberry tea - a herbal tea that all the grandmothers in Georgia make, but which is not so known elsewhere. 

Hannes making first teas of our 3rd season - white tea "Cold Spring"

Written by Hanna