The first stop I am making on my tea tasting journey through the Darjeeling 2014 first flush teas is at the Dooteriah Tea Estate. This sample was provided by Lochan Tea Limited, and thank you to the Lochan family for your generosity.
The Dooteriah Tea Estate is located in the Darjeeling East Valley. Dooteriah was established in 1859, and ranges in altitude from 3,000 feet to 5,400 feet (1,000 to 1,800 meters) above sea level. This sample is from the first flush (harvest) of the 2014 growing year.
The sample packet has been opened, and the freshness of this sample is already evident. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves have a lively green to reddish-brown to dark brown color, with some silver tips in the mix. The leaves appear to be small to large fragments, with some bare stems present. The leaves are rolled. The aroma is very fresh, and has scents of light brown sugar, fresh wood, and fresh spring flowers.
Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) ceramic infusion cup. Purified spring water was heated to 195°F (90°C). The leaves were infused for two minutes thirty seconds.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a dark golden-yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma is room filling and fresh, with scents of fresh spring flowers (lilac, light hyacinth), light honey, and light fresh wood. The body is medium, with a lively, mouth-filling texture. The taste is dominantly floral, with notes of hyacinth, lilac, and jasmine, with lighter notes of fresh wood and light honey. The aftertaste is floral, and an impressive floral aftertaste is left on the breath.
The second infusion has a slightly different color, adding a slight reddish-orange tint to the golden-yellow color. The aroma is lighter, and remains fresh and floral. The floral scent has more of a rose character than the first infusion had, perhaps the result of the overall lighter aroma. The body has lightened some, but is still medium. The taste has lightened, and retains the dominant floral notes. The notes include more of rose and light jasmine, and less hyacinth and lilac. A light wood note is also there. The aftertaste and essence remain floral.
The third infusion produced a liquor with a color more similar to the first infusion than the second, but is not as bright as the first infusion. The aroma has lightened more, and remains floral. The body, texture, and taste have all lightened significantly from the second infusion. The taste notes are light floral (rose, jasmine) and very light wood. The aftertaste and essence are quite light.
The infused leaves range in color from fresh forest green to reddish brown. All leaves are small to medium fragments, with a few larger fragments. There are few tips in the mix, as well as bare stems. The aroma is fresh and floral, with dominant scents of hyacinth, wood, and light grapes.
The Dooteriah FTGFOP 1 CH SPL First Flush 2014 tea was an excellent reminder of the fresh flowery character of first flush Darjeeling teas. The aromas of the dry leaves, first infusion, and infused leaves were all very impressive and attractive. The taste of the first and second infusions were very fresh and refreshing, while the third infusion was very light, but still easy to drink. This tea gave me the taste for first flush Darjeelings, and I am definitely looking forward to trying the 2014 products from other estates around the Darjeeling District.
Cheers once again to Lochan Tea Limited for providing this incredibly fresh sample of Dooteriah FTGFOP 1 CH SPL 2014 first flush tea.