The Best Seasons & Regions to grow & harvest Tea Leaves

The art of tea production has been practiced for centuries across the world, with many regions boasting their unique flavours and qualities. The cultivation and harvesting of tea leaves is a complex process. It begins with the tea plant’s growth cycle which is turn is totally influenced by the terroir. Understanding the impact of these factors is surely crucial in the process of production of high-quality tea for consumption.

Let’s delve deeper into the tea plant growth cycle and explore the importance of climate and season for tea growth and harvest. So, grab yourself a warm cup of tea, sit back, and discover the secrets behind the perfect brew.

Tea and the seasons

Tea is a plant that thrives in different climates with varying temperatures, humidity, and soil composition. Changes in these climatic conditions have a significant impact on the growth and maturation of tea plants. Resulting in different flavours, aromas, and textures. The season in which tea leaves are harvested also plays a crucial role in determining the final quality of the tea.


Spring tea, commonly referred to as “first flush,” is the first harvest of the year, usually in March or April.  And is specific to the teas produced in Darjeeling, Assam and Dooars. The South Indian plantation districts see a year long plucking cycle owing to moderate temperatures. The long and cold winter months prior to spring lull the tea bushes into a state of dormancy. Which bounce back with renewed vigour post the first rains of spring. The teas are delicate, flavoury,  rather astringent and don’t keep too well when kept in store for long. The limited nature and rare quality renders them valuable and they command a price as straight lines.

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Summer tea, also known as “second flush,” is harvested in the prime tea growing areas of Assam, Dooars and Darjeeling between May and June, depending on the region. The Assams and Dooars have punchy , strong flavours and make for a robust cup. These are blenders favourites and command premiums. This is also the time , when the rare ‘Muscatel’ flavour of Darjeeling teas is pronounced, albeit for a short time. Climate change has made this unique flavour unpredictable and every year is a surprise. Teas grown in warmer temperatures and lower elevations during summer produce tea strong and coloury liquors. While the higher elevation teas are lighter, mellow and very flavoury. This is a rush period for South Indian teas and they often lose quality with a surplus of quantity.



Autumn tea, or “third flush,” is harvested with the advent of Autumn, usually September spilling over in to October once in a while, depending on the region. Warm days give way to cool nights and as the temperature drops in the higher elevations, Darjeeling teas generate a unique flavour. rare and well appreciated by connoisseurs . The low growns see lower yields as the cold sets in. The teas are not as bright as and strong as the summer teas but they possess a different identity being a little mellow at this time.

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Cold , harsh winters in the Eastern and Northern part of the country , render the bushes dormant. While on the other hand, South India records its highest quality season in the winters. The highest elevations in the Nilgiris  produce rare teas, which are highly prized and command high premiums. Light and delicate. They are characterised by what is called ‘Nilgiri Bouquet’, with a distinct floral aroma. The flavour of this tea is heavily dependent on the elevation with the lower elevations showing an improvement in quality as well, however, with bolder, coloury teas.

The season in which tea leaves are harvested has a profound influence on the tea’s quality, taste, aroma, and texture. The next time you brew your cup of tea, take a moment to appreciate the season that brought it to you, and savour its unique taste. You’ll be assured of a better tasting cup without doubt, and a higher degree of involvement.

Tea and Regions

Each tea-growing region in the world offers a unique flavour profile, reflecting the unique soil, climate, and cultural traditions of that region.


China is considered to be the birthplace of tea and has a rich history of tea production. Chinese tea is best known for  Oolong and green tea variants . They are unique in their flavour profile, often complex, with floral, sweet, and earthy intones with many popular varieties including Dragonwell, Keemun, and Pu-erh.


Japan has a long history of tea culture, with its elaborate tea ceremony with Sencha and Matcha being preferred variants. These teas are popular for their grassy, vegetal, and umami-like flavour notes.


India is one of the largest tea-producing countries in the world, with Darjeeling, Assam, Dooars, Nilgiris and High Range being the most famous tea-growing regions. Indian tea is famous for its black teas, the robust and full-bodied CTC type of manufacture. Undoubtedly taking precedence over delectable orthodox teas from the higher elevations of Darjeeling and the Nilgiris .

Sri Lanka

Ceylon Tea, as the teas have become known worldwide ,are unique in their variety. Their seven tea producing districts are staggered in elevation from sea level. All the way to their high altitude teas and have a wide variety for a small tea nation.

In the final analysis, no two teas are similar . Exploring the variety of teas from different regions can be an excellent way to appreciate the diversity and beauty of the world’s natural environment.

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