Thanks to the generosity of the Lochan family and Lochan Tea Limited, I have before me numerous 2014 first flush teas from various tea estates in the Darjeeling district of India. I have said this on several occasions, but I am truly grateful for the Lochans and their passion for sharing Darjeeling teas with the world.
The focus of today’s review is the Doke Black Fusion First Flush 2014 Tea from the Doke Tea Estate. The Doke Tea Estate is owned and operated by the Lochan family, and is located in Bihar, India. For more information on the Doke Tea Estate, visit their website here. The Lochan family also operates Lochan Tea Limited, which you may learn more about here.
The sample packet has been opened. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves are mostly black in color, with some reddish brown, and a few silver tips in the mix. The leaves appear to be medium sized fragments, with some large fragments, and perhaps a few whole leaves. The leaves are moderately rolled. There are a few bare stems in the mix. The aroma is sweet, with scents of malt, molasses, light wood, and a very light grape.
Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) ceramic infusion cup. Purified spring water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for three minutes.
The first infusion produced a deep golden-orange color with red tint, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of roses, light grapes, light malt, and light wood. The body is medium-full, with a lively, mouth-filling texture. The taste has a somewhat brisk character, with notes of wood, roses, malt, light hyacinth, and very light grape. The aftertaste is sweet and floral, and a flowery essence is left on the breath.
The second infusion produced a liquor with a lighter shade of golden-orange color, and the reddish tint remains. The aroma has lightened some, and retains the scents of roses, wood, malt, and grape. The body has lightened to medium. The taste has lightened some, and retains the notes of wood, roses, hyacinth, and light malt. The grape notes have dissipated almost entirely. The aftertaste is lighter and mostly floral in the second infusion.
The third infusion produced a liquor with again lighter shade of golden-orange color with reddish tint. The aroma has lighted again, and the floral smells are most prominent. The body and taste have also lightened. The flavor notes are mostly floral. The aftertaste has lightened, but remained floral.
The infused leaves vary in color from pale greenish-brown to dark green and copper-brown. The leaves are mostly medium to large fragments, with one of two whole leaves in the mix. There are also a few tips measuring about 0.75 inches (20mm). There are a few bare stems in the mix. The leaves have a soft and smooth texture, but are not as delicate as expected. The aroma has scents of wet wood, light grape, and light spice.
The Doke Black Fusion Tea was an interesting break from the first flush teas that I am familiar with from the Darjeeling district. The sweet smell of the dry leaves and the beautiful color of the liquor were the most attractive characteristics of this tea. The brisk character of the first infusion was also very enjoyable, if you like a brisk tea. The taste did have the fresh floral character that many Darjeeling tea fans love about first flush teas, but the prominent woody notes of the first infusion separate this tea from most Darjeeling first flush teas. This tea did have a nice assortment of taste notes in the first infusion. I would recommend this tea to someone who is looking for a tea that is more robust than Darjeeling first flush teas, but retains some of the floral qualities of Darjeeling teas.
Thanks again to the Lochan family for providing this sample fresh from their own farm. Cheers!