Organic Darjeeling Makaibari Estate 2nd Flush Black Tea

Ripened Muscat grape and forest floor notes, ample astringency and strong body

fair trade certified certified organic
Organic Darjeeling Makaibari Estate 2nd Flush Black Tea
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Organic Darjeeling Makaibari Estate 2nd Flush Black Tea


This outstanding organic tea is biodynamically farmed at the Makaibari estate in India's Darjeeling district. Established in 1859, Makaibari is the oldest estate in Darjeeling, where a strong commitment to sustainable farming prevails. This Fair Trade Certified organic black tea is made from the new growth of the tea plant a few months after the first harvest of the year, referred to as the "second flush." Second flush organic tea from India (especially the Darjeeling region) offer a darker liquor and stronger body than teas of the first flush, with far less "green" character. This tea offers an exquisite aroma and amber color, with fully-ripened Muscat grape and forest floor notes, and an ample astringency.

Ingredients: organic and Fair Trade Certified Indian black tea

Origin: Makaibari Estate, Darjeeling, India


Located in eastern India, Darjeeling is nestled at the foothills of the Himalayas and tucked between Bhutan and Nepal. It is one of the most famous regions in the world for tea production, and has a long history of tea cultivation dating back to the early 1800s. Black teas are the most traditional types of tea from this area, but more recently white, green and oolong teas have been manufactured. Darjeeling’s highland subtropical climate and elevation (6000 feet above sea level) make it ideal for growing tea. Makaibari Tea Estate was founded in 1859, and is the oldest and steepest estate in Darjeeling. Makaibari is a biodynamic and organic certified tea garden and follows a form of “integrated forest management.” They also use permaculture in many of their practices. Certified Fair Trade in 1993, Makaibari has used their premiums to provide stipends for University studies, microfinance programs, education investments and health training, among many other initiatives.

Read our field notes
 from our visit to Makaibari!

Steeping Instructions


At Arbor Teas, we believe tea should be brewed to suit your personal taste. We’re happy to make recommendations to get you started, but don’t hesitate to experiment! When brewing your tea, your main considerations are tea quantity, water temperature, and steeping time. We recommend black teas to be steeped for 3 to 5 minutes in water heated to a full, rolling boil. For the best flavor, use fresh water whenever possible, and avoid overboiling. Try not to steep your tea longer than necessary, as you’ll extract undesirable bitterness from the leaves. If you want a stronger brew, don’t steep longer, just use more tea. And don’t forget to re-steep your tea leaves to get the most out of your leaf!

Looking for more info? Check out our How-To Guides and Eco-Brewing Tips!

Staff Perspectives

  • Jeremy

    "A truly distinctive tea flavor - lemony, nutty, and unlike any other!"

  • Aubrey

    "I prefer the thicker body of this second flush over the first flush."

Health Benefits


Like all true tea, black tea offers many potential health benefits. Research has found that tea (Camellia sinensis) can have many positive effects on human health, including improved cardiovascular function, cancer risk reduction, improved immune function, improved oral health, and help with weight management. Tea is also full of polyphenols, which are a class of antioxidant that help your body maintain homeostasis and balance your stress levels. Black tea specifically has been found to regulate blood sugar in diabetics better than other types of tea, according to a study done by the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

For more information about the health benefits of black tea and other types of tea, and for direct sources of the above information, check out our Tea Health Benefits page!

Please note: the information above is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Customer Reviews

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  • 5
    the best Darjeeling!

    Posted by Skye on 8th Feb 2023

    My friend and I did a taste test of several different Darjeelings from different companies. In the end, the top two were from Arbor and when we tested them head to head, the 2nd flush was the clear winner. It just has such a rich and satisfying taste.

  • 5

    Posted by Tom on 10th Feb 2022

    I'm mostly a green tea (and yaupon) drinker, but when I'm on a roll, and want to kick it over to the Dark oh my, this is some fine, fine black. Complex, satisfying, nothing quirky, and kicks like a mule. Delicious greens deserve the best dark segue, and this one keeps the party rolling. Judging from other reviews, there seems to be a bit of harvest variation with this one, but I've found nothing to complain of. Au contraire!

  • 5
    My Favorite

    Posted by Catherine on 12th Oct 2021

    I drink this tea every morning and have for many years. I've found that the floral notes come out with a longer steeping at a lower temperature. I steep it for 7 minutes at 185 degrees. Even then the floral essence is elusive. Since it is mysterious and elusive, I'm never bored with this tea. I can't arrive at the magical essence scientifically, but when it comes, it's always a delight. Even without it, the tea is very satisfying. Enjoy!

  • 4
    Darjeeling Makaibari Estate 2nd Flush Black Tea

    Posted by Bob Plewnarz on 19th Sep 2021

    Comforting light tea. I taste honey and a hint of jasmine and hints of warm spices., cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. One of my favorites.

  • 4
    Lighter but Pleasant Tea

    Posted by Stephanie Smith on 28th Mar 2021

    I prefer something darker and a little more intense, but this is a fine tea for mornings when I want something lighter.

  • 5
    First time taste of second flush Darjeeling

    Posted by Cristine on 3rd Mar 2021

    First thing I noticed is the beautiful amber color of this tea, and then the remarkably delicious fragrance. To me, it is the perfect afternoon tea: well balanced, flavorful, smooth, and robust without harshness. I'm not enough of a connoisseur to pick up notes like "forest floor" or "muscat". All I can say is now it's my favorite tea-time treat. I am SO GRATEFUL to have found an organic, fair trade tea that tastes this scrumptious!

  • 5
    Loveliest Darjeeling

    Posted by Emily on 21st Jul 2020

    So rich and flavorful! The leaves come in such high quality state. This place is the only spot I will buy my tea from now

  • 3
    not good value for money anymore

    Posted by Elena on 7th Feb 2018

    I've been buying this tea for years while it was 23.95. Expensive, but worth it. Suddenly, it increased by 36%. At 32.50 it's not good value for money. I'm disappointed. Will seek alternatives.

  • 2
    makaibari 2nd flush

    Posted by michael bolin on 13th Dec 2017

    A real let-down. Substandard.

  • 2

    Posted by Debbie Shipley on 14th Oct 2017

    I have to say not a fan of this tea. On reading the reviews thought this could be an interesting Black tea to try. I found it very light and without much flavor of course that's the beauty of trying different teas and testing the pallet.

  • 5

    Posted by Kara on 2nd May 2016

    I agree with the other reviewer who said this tea's notes are reminiscent of a forest floor. This Darjeeling brewed quite dark and was rich and robust. I may order a full-size bag at some point.

  • 5
    Worth just the aroma

    Posted by Libby on 6th Apr 2016

    After I measure out the leaves, I sniff the intoxicating, almost wine-like aroma of the leaves. This is one of my two favorite teas, English Breakfast being the other one. It is full bodied without astringency. A fine, elegant cup of tea.

  • 2
    Not for me

    Posted by Unknown on 6th Apr 2016

    I found this tea too astringent and "green" tasting for me. (I prefer maltier teas.) Oh well.

  • 5
    Wonderful Tea

    Posted by Steven Elliott on 18th Apr 2015

    I have found this to be one of my favorite teas. More hearty and darker in color than the first flush. This has become my everyday at home tea; one that I enjoy slowly in the morning and look forward to as I go to bed.

  • 5
    A controlled substance?

    Posted by Benjamin Hartwick on 24th Mar 2015

    I always want to call this “the magic earth goddess tea.” Nothing else is like it. This, and it’s cousin the first flush, are in a class all by themselves. The Arbor tea staff describe it as having “forest floor notes.” It’s really true. I feel like I’m worshipping the forest goddess when I drink this tea. I have visions of fairies and elves dancing around the forest floor in celebration, flitting among the trees. This is usually the second tea I drink during the day (the black Kenya being the wake up tea). I can’t quite make myself drink this first thing in the morning, perhaps because it is too special, too sacred, but once my brain is in gear, my thoughts turn towards this tea, particularly on a rainy day. I would say that the complex flavors in this tea sometimes border on being mind altering for me in a wholesome way, particularly if I take the time to be fully mindful of the experience of drinking it, meditating on my sensory experience as I drink it. This is definitely one of my two favorite Arbor teas, and the cost of it is of no consequence whatsoever, considering how unique an special it is, like not other tea I have ever tried. I like just sticking my nose in the canister of unbrewed tea and sniffing it (same for its cousin, the first flush, which smells more, hmm...sprouty, more young and grassy?). When I first started brewing this tea, I did so at the lower temperature (very important!), but I brewed it for 5 whole minutes. This morning, for whatever reason, I thought to experiment with brewing for just 3 minutes instead. What a difference! It was even better than it was before when brewing it at 5 minutes, and I had already thought it was the goddess tea when I was doing that. For me, 3 minutes is perfect. This tea is so unique that one might argue that it should be a controlled substance. Can I give it, say, a rating of 7 leaves?

  • 5
    I barely ever drink anything else

    Posted by Unknown on 24th Mar 2014

    This is my go-to tea. It's a tea that lends itself to really easy ratio tailoring -- I generally use 1 tsp per 8 oz cup if I want a strong, full-bodied morning tea, or half that is I want something lighter. Regardless of amount, this tea is incredibly flavourful -- even a small amount will give you a nice, light cup. Flavors are very floral; you can tell this is a great darjeeling by the smell alone. Even at higher ratios, the tannin count is pretty low, and the muskiness of the tea doesn't interfere with the floral notes. All in all, a spectacular tea. Just be careful not to over-steep: this tea becomes bitter VERY quickly if you leave it in too long.

  • 3
    Mild tea with slightly sweet smoky flavor.

    Posted by Sam K on 11th Dec 2013

    This tea has a very mild 'tea flavor' with just a little sweetness and a slight smoky flavor. My first thought was that it tasted a bit like dried apples. Overall it's good tea but nothing to write home about.

  • 5
    4-1/2 stars. 2013 Not Quite The Year That 2012 Was?

    Posted by Bix on 9th Oct 2013

    I am a 2nd flush man. I do not know why more people favour the first flush, but that's what makes horse races. Please read my review with this bias in mind. 2013 was a poor weather year for the entire Darjeeling region, particularly the north. The major ill result was less tea yield. The result in this Makaibari 2nd flush is a lighter and more astringent tea. As such, I think it more resembles a Makaibari 1st flush. This could be due to altered production techniques, or the rain may have made sufficient oxidation too difficult. —Too bad for me, but great for the “first flushers”. The bottom line is that I am using almost 2 teaspoons per cup, whilst the 2012 2nd flush required only 1-1/4 teaspoons to brew a solidly darker and less astringent tea. With most Darjeelings, I brew to 3+ minutes, however, this Makaibari is requiring over 4 minutes and more tea. The 2012 2nd flush had no such difficulty. The 2012 2nd flush brewed with a scant 1-1/4 teaspoon and would even suffer a second infusion. Hence, I will go through this batch of 2013 2nd flush much faster. So buy a lot of the 2012 2nd flush? Nope. That will not help you because TIME is a Darjeeling’s greatest enemy. —Still, I plan to buy a small amount of the 2012 2nd flush. Well stored, sealed in the ‘Fridge will add a month or two on it’s life. I am spoiled. I once had a Makaibari a week or two after processing. Fresh is amazing! Oh dear, I have frightened you. RELAX!! This is still a GREAT TEA with THE venerable Makaibari signature written all over the taste. You will NOT be disappointed. For all we know, this may be the finest 2013 2nd flush in Darjeeling! My complaints are mostly a matter of personal taste. You can buy this tea with confidence that you are getting a true and classic Makaibari. Remember: Bring the pot to the kettle not the kettle to the pot!

  • 5
    My absolute favorite tea!

    Posted by Brenna H. on 12th Mar 2013

    This tea is amazing. I am normally an oolong drinker, and my fiancée is a black tea drinker. We both agree that this is the best tea we've had, though! It is both light and full-bodied, and it has enough caffeine to fuel me through an overnight shift at the hospital.

  • 5
    Good Mid-Day Tea

    Posted by Mark on 23rd Feb 2013

    This is my Mid-Day go-to tea. Consistent, dark color, and full of flavor. Adding to it's value, this tea is more then capable of a second steep. It produces a full, but clean flavor without getting needlessly thin. Just watch your 2nd steep time and you'll be happy.

  • 4
    Good everyday tea

    Posted by Lauren on 19th Feb 2013

    This is a tasty, full-flavored black tea which has a nice nuttiness to it. I drink it about 2-3 times a week in the morning as a replacement for coffee.

  • 5
    Full bodied, bracing.

    Posted by Art from Northern California on 28th Dec 2011

    My morning tea about three days a week. Bracing, full bodied, tasty. Ripe and pungent and nothing green or herbal tasting about it. Not sweet like their Nam tea, so recommend no milk or cream, just straight.

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