I have reviewed maybe four of the high quality teas being produced at the Doke Tea Estate, but I must say that I was very happy to find a sample of their Silver Needle white tea in the most recent package of samples from Lochan Tea. Since deciding to import some fairly expensive silver tips white tea from Sri Lanka, I am always interested to try other silver needle products for comparison purposes. Thankfully, I am still happy with the silver tips from Sri Lanka, even though the price tag is about 150% some other good silver needle products from India, Nepal, and Malawi. However, I have much respect for the products coming from the Doke Tea Estate, as well as the Lochan family in general, and I am excited to see how their Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 White Tea compares to the others.
The Doke Tea Estate is located in Bihar, India, and is situated southwest of the Darjeeling region, and on the south-east border of Nepal. Please click here to see the Doke Tea Estate website. You may also find the Lochan Tea website by clicking here.
The sample packet has been opened, and a sweet grape and hay fragrance is instantly detected. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves have a uniform light pale yellow color, and are covered in fine silver hairs. A few of the leaves have developed a brownish color. The pluck is one fine leaf and unopened bud. The buds are long and fairly slender. The leaves have a soft, downy-like texture. There are some leaf fragments, and no bare stems in the mix. The aroma has scents of sweet hay and light grape, giving it a distinct second flush character.
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 4:00 minutes.
My at home steeping suggestions are to use three grams of dry leaves for each six ounces (180 ml) of water to be used. Heat the water to 175°F to 185°F (80°C to 85°C). Infuse the leaves for 3:00 to 4:00 minutes. Leaves may be reused two or more times.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a light honey-like color, light pale golden-yellow, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of grapes, sweet hay, light honey, and light flowers. The body is medium, with a round texture. The taste has notes of roses, grapes, and sweet hay. The aftertaste is a blend of roses and hay, and a similar essence lingers on the breath.
The infused leaves have a uniform fresh light forest green color, with few leaves showing light brown mostly along the stems. The pluck is mostly one fine leaf enveloping the unopened bud, and a few have the second leaf. There are some leaf fragments, and no bare stems. The buds are long and slender, and have a smooth texture. The aroma is sweet and floral, with hints of grape, light rose, and light hay.
Of the silver needle white teas that I have had from India, I will say that this Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 White Tea from Doke Tea Estate holds one of the top two positions. The grape hints in the aroma and taste was different than any other silver needle white tea that I have had, and fits the second flush character that Darjeeling and nearby tea producing regions are known for. The Lochan family focuses on producing teas with a level of quality that are unmatched in India, and this Silver Needle White Tea upholds that reputation perfectly.
Thank you to the Lochan family for their dedication to producing very high quality teas, as well as their work in the tea communities of India and Nepal, and of course for providing these samples! Cheers!