Doke Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2017 White Tea from Lochan Tea and Doke Tea Estate

There are many instances in life that leave you wishing that each day held more hours. If given an extra four hours a day, I am not one of those people who would allocate any of that additional time to my insurance career. Rather, I would spend that time with my son and wife. If that was not possible, then a good portion of those four hours would likely be spent slowly enjoying a good tea session. Few things in my life are as unfortunate as having to rush through the tea making and drinking experience, especially when I realize that I rushed through a sample of a type of tea that I really wanted to quietly focus on and appreciate.

Luckily, today is not going to be one of those days. I have my work completed, the phones are fairly quiet, and I have some time to appreciate a tea worthy of my full attention. The Doke Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2017 White Tea not only deserves such time and attention, but demands it because of the subtlety of the character that this style of tea generally embodies. To rush through a silver needle white tea session is to essentially miss out on the best parts of these teas, the subtle aromas and tastes. To rush through a tea session that involves any product from Doke Tea Estate is to rob yourself of a rare and uncommon treat, and that to me is incredibly foolish.

You can purchase 50 grams of this Doke Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2017 White Tea for USD $10.00 plus shipping from the Lochan Tea website.

Let’s get to the review…

20170718_094216_Richtone(HDR)
Doke Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2017 White Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry buds have the standard brownish color, and are covered in fine, silver, downy-like fuzz. The mixture contains mostly large bud fragments and unbroken buds, with a few shoot stems also. The buds are smooth and fuzzy to the touch, and crack easily into larger fragments. The buds are quite long and slender, as opposed to some better known Chinese silver needle teas that consist of plump, thicker buds. The aroma has scents of sweet hay, daisies, vanilla, sweet cream, and dried apricot. The aroma is very potent for a white tea, indicating how fresh it is.

The dry leaves were placed in a porcelain gaiwan, then infused in 185°F water for 3:00 minutes.

20170718_100856_Richtone(HDR)
Doke Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2017 White Tea – Liquid

The liquid has a bright, pale yellow-gold color. The aroma has scents of hay, daisies, apricot, light vanilla, and even a touch of honey and peach. The body is surprisingly fuller, with a silky, incredibly smooth texture. The taste has notes of hay, daisies, apricot, and a touch of vanilla, honey, and peach. The aftertaste is very refreshing, and carries the notes of hay, daisies, and vanilla.

20170718_101327_Richtone(HDR)
Doke Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2017 White Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform light forest green on the buds, and brownish shoot stems. The mixture consists of large bud fragments, unbroken buds, and shoot stems. Some shoots show a one leaf and bud pluck, while others show a two leaf and bud pluck. There are no leaves in the mixture, only buds and shoot stems. The buds have a very smooth, soft texture, and are quite durable even after five infusions. The aroma has scents of hay, daisies, peach, and a light touch of vanilla and honey.

Although quite different than the better known silver needle teas of the Fujian Province of China, the Doke Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2017 White Tea is incredibly refreshing and satisfying, and is of the same higher quality as it’s Chinese counterparts. This is a perfect summer time tea when served hot. The light and refreshing character seems to regulate the body temperature efficiently (it is hot in Pittsburgh today, so I can feel this effect quite clearly). These buds have survived through five or six infusions so far, and there is still plenty of taste in the cup. I expect this portion of leaves to get me through my work day.

Thank you to the Lochan family for their time and efforts in creating this excellent white tea, and for their generosity in providing the sample. Cheers!

Advertisements

Doke Black Fusion 1st Flush 2017 From Lochan Tea

One of the most difficult parts of my break from publishing tea reviews was the feeling of missing out on some of the best and freshest teas that were produced each season. This was particularly true when I saw the different flushes being produced from the Darjeeling and Nepal areas.

The tea I am reviewing today comes from the Doke Tea Estate, located in Bihar, India. This estate is owned by the Lochan family (Rajiv, Vivek, and Neha), renowned champions of specialty tea production and promotion in northern India and Nepal and beyond. From using organic and sustainable farming practices at the Doke Tea Estate, to experimentation with new production skills and techniques, the Lochan family exemplifies passion for high quality tea and responsibility in the tea industry.

Many thanks to the Lochan family for providing this sample of Doke Black Fusion 1st Flush 2017 black tea, and for all of their hard work and efforts in their promotion of specialty tea!

Let’s get to the review…

20170419_092914
Doke Black Fusion 1st Flush 2017 Sample Label
20170419_092923
Doke Black Fusion 1st Flush 2017 Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform dark brown to black color, with a sprinkling of silver-gold tips. The consistency of the leaf fragments is impressive, given that the tea is hand-rolled. There are very few bare stems, and the ones that are present are quite small. The aroma is incredible, with strong hints of raw cacao powder, dark chocolate, toasted grains, and molasses.

Dry tea leaves were placed in 205°F water for 4:00 minutes.

20170419_095626
Doke Black Fusion 1st Flush 2017 Tea Liquid

The tea liquid has a bright, copper-orange color. The aroma has dominant scents of toasted grains, dark chocolate, roses, and dandelions. The body is medium, with a silky, smooth texture, and a light briskness. The taste has notes of toasted grains, raw cacao, dark chocolate, roses, dandelion, and a touch of molasses. The aftertaste holds on to the toasted grains, dark chocolate, and rose notes.

Two quality infusions were extracted from the same sample of leaves.

20170419_111157
Doke Black Fusion 1st Flush 2017 Wet Leaves

The wet leaves have a uniform copper-brown color. The pluck appears to be two leaves and a bud. The fragments are fairly uniform in size. The leaves have a soft, silky texture. The aroma has scents of toasted grains, dark chocolate, raw cacao, and a touch of molasses and roses. The sweet scents of dark chocolate, molasses, and roses are intensified as the leaves cool.

It has been over two years since I last sampled and reviewed the Doke Black Fusion tea. I can say with certainty that the experience of this sample was notably better than my experience of the previous sample. Not to take anything away from the previous sample, but the 1st Flush 2017 is proof of the increasing skill and improving technique of the Lochan family in producing teas at the Doke Tea Estate. This 1st Flush 2017 sample was incredible! It was sweet and rich in aroma and taste, from the dry leaves through the wet leaves. The texture and mouthfeel were incredibly smooth and comforting.

I congratulate the Lochan family on their success in producing this extraordinary tea, and look forward to experiencing the sample of Doke Green Diamond that they also graciously provided.

You can purchase the Doke Black Fusion 1st Flush 2017 Tea directly from the Lochan Tea website, with 50 grams starting at USD $7.00 plus shipping.

Thank you for taking your time to read my review of the Doke Black Fusion 1st Flush 2017 black tea from Doke Tea Estate! Cheers!

Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 White Tea from Doke Tea Estate

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…

Doke Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 White Tea Dry Leaves
Doke Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 White Tea Dry Leaves

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.

Doke Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 White Tea Infusion
Doke Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 White Tea Infusion

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.

Doke Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 White Tea Infused Leaves
Doke Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 White Tea Infused Leaves

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!