Rohini Summer Euphoria 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea from Lochan Tea

Today, I will focus on the Summer Euphoria 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling tea produced at the Rohini Tea Estate. This sample was provided by Lochan Tea.

I have covered the Rohini Tea Estate several times in previous reviews, so I will spare you all the redundancy. You may click on the link above to learn more about Rohini Tea Estate.

This 2nd flush product from Rohini Tea Estate was produced early in the second flush season before the labor strike began in Darjeeling. Due to the ongoing political disputes in the Darjeeling area, this year (2017) marks the first time in forty years that the Kolkata tea auction centre has no Darjeeling second flush 2017 teas to sell. If you absolutely demand fresh second flush Darjeeling teas, expect to pay very, VERY high prices for it this year, and realize that what you are buying is from early second flush production, if you are able to find any at all available for retail sale.

Products comparable to Darjeeling second flush teas can be found coming from Nepal, which shares a border with the Darjeeling area of northern India. The Nepalese teas have been growing in popularity and recognition over the past couple of years due to the significant increases in quality and, in many cases, more affordable pricing than their Darjeeling counterparts. To be honest, unless you are truly a tea tasting and analyzing professional familiar with both Darjeeling and Nepalese teas, you will most likely not be able to tell the difference between the teas from these two areas. While the brand of Darjeeling teas is currently suffering due to the political problems in that area, the Nepalese products are gaining even more recognition as a suitable and reliable replacement for Darjeeling teas.

Let’s get to the review…

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Rohini Summer Euphoria 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform dark brown color with a generous portion of fuzzy golden tips. The shape of the dry leaves is remarkable and noteworthy, as they appear to be hand-rolled into pellets that in some cases resemble pretzels. A closeup of one of the pellets is below. I have never before seen a Darjeeling tea with the dry leaves rolled like this. This gives the tea an even higher quality and specific appearance. I would easily recognize this product in a blind evaluation. I expect these pellets to unfurl into unbroken and large leaf and bud fragments, and show a two leaf and bud pluck. There are no bare stems in the mix. The aroma has sweet scents of roses, grapes, and a touch of dark chocolate. The aroma is very attractive.

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Rohini Summer Euphoria 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea – Pellet Closeup

9 grams of dry leaves were placed in an 18 ounce cast-iron tetsubin teapot. The leaves were infused in 200°F water for 3:00 minutes.

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Rohini Summer Euphoria 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea – Liquid

The liquid has a bright, reddish-bronze color. The aroma is dominated by scents of roses and grapes, with lighter scents of toasted grains and dark chocolate. The body is full, with a rich, layered texture. The taste has strong notes of roses and grapes, along with notes of raw cacao beans, and a lighter note of toasted grains. There is an excellent balance of astringency, bitterness, and sweetness. The aftertaste is sweet and has a touch of the rose and grape flavors. The tea leaves a slight dry feeling in the mouth.

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Rohini Summer Euphoria 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform copper-brown color. The leaves, as expected, are mostly unbroken or large fragments. Some of the leaves are standalone, not attached to a stem, while others show the two leaf and bud pluck. Some have two leaves, a mature bud, and a younger bud included on the pluck with a longer shoot, which explains how they could be rolled into the pellet shape. Some of the leaves are quite large, like the one shown in the photo above. The aroma continues the sweet scents of grapes and roses, and light touch of dark chocolate.

The Rohini Summer Euphoria 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea is one of the most interesting teas to play with and observe that I have reviewed in a long time. The appearance of the dry leaf pellets and unfurled infused leaves is very unique, especially for a Darjeeling tea. The aroma in all phases is very attractive and characteristic of a high quality Darjeeling second flush tea, as well as the taste of the liquid. Having experienced this tea, it is unfortunate to remember that this product will probably not be available to purchase for the rest of this production year. I hope the Rohini Tea Estate continues to produce this unique and interesting tea in future production years.

To be honest, if I had to pick one Darjeeling second flush tea to have in my collection, I would choose this Rohini Summer Euphoria. The aroma and taste are very high quality, and it is simply a more interesting product than the vast majority of its Darjeeling second flush counterparts.

Thank you to Lochan Tea for providing this sample of Rohini Summer Euphoria 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea. Cheers!

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Organic Goomtee Muscatel Delight 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea from Lochan Tea

Today’s review focuses on the Organic Goomtee Muscatel Delight 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea from Lochan Tea. You can check out Lochan Tea on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, among other social media platforms.

As noted in the product name, this tea was sourced from Goomtee Tea Estate, located in the famous Darjeeling area of northern India. This tea came from the organic certified section of the estate, known as Muscatel Valley. The estate lays next to other respected tea estates, such as Giddapahar and Jungpana, and the world famous Castleton Estate. The Goomtee estate consists of a total of 225 hectares of land, 110 hectares of which are under tea cultivation. The Chinese clonal tea bushes are grown at altitudes between 3,000 and 6,000 feet above sea level. The map below shows the location of Goomtee Tea Estate, and its relative position to other well known tea estates in the Darjeeling area.

You can follow Goomtee Tea Estate on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Let’s not forget to send another prayer for a peaceful resolution to the persisting political situation in the Darjeeling area. As of now, there has been very little progress.

Let’s get to the review…

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Organic Goomtee Muscatel Delight 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform dark charcoal grey color, with a few fuzzy, golden tips. The leaves are more uniformly dark in color than most other second flush Darjeeling teas that I have reviewed this season. The other products have had some touches of red or brown or even a little green, but this sample is entirely dark in color (aside from the golden tips, of course). The leaves are mostly medium to large sized fragments, with the possibility of some smaller unbroken leaves and buds in the mix. There are a few bare stems, but they are quite small. The leaves are machine rolled. The aroma has scents of dried red muscat grapes, raw cocoa, dried roses, and anise.

The dry leaves were placed in a cast iron tetsubin teapot and infused in 200°F water for 3:00 minutes.

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Organic Goomtee Muscatel Delight 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea – Liquid

The liquid has a golden-red color. The aroma has scents of roses, red muscat grapes, raw cocoa, and anise. The body is full, with a juicy, lush feel, and lightly brisk character. The taste has notes of red muscat grapes, roses, anise, and raw cocoa. The aftertaste carries the grape and rose notes.

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Organic Goomtee Muscatel Delight 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform copper brown color. The mix consists mostly of medium and large sized fragments, and a few small, young, unbroken leaves and tips. There are a few bare stems and shoots in the mix. The leaves have a soft, tender feel. The aroma has scents of muscat grapes, roses, cocoa, and anise.

The Organic Goomtee Muscatel Delight 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea delivers that which its name suggests, a clean, muscat grape flavor, along with the floral notes that I have come to expect from second flush Darjeeling teas. The notes of cocoa and anise nicely balance out the aroma and flavor, while the light briskness adds some depth. Overall, this tea is another fine example of the high quality aroma and flavor profiles that consumers demand from the better Darjeeling estates. I expect nothing less from a tea that is offered by Lochan Tea.

Another thank you to the Lochan family for providing this sample of Organic Goomtee Muscatel Delight 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea. Cheers!

Avongrove Euphoria 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea from Lochan Tea

Today, I will be reviewing a tea sample that I have been holding on to, waiting for the right day and time to properly appreciate a truly high-end Darjeeling tea. Thankfully, that day has come.

This sample is of the Avongrove Euphoria 2nd Flush 2017 from the Avongrove Tea Estate in the famed Darjeeling region of northern India. As many of you have heard, the political situation in Darjeeling has deteriorated over the past couple of months. Here is a link to one of the best articles that I have found on the subject, written by the knowledgeable team at World of Tea.

Due to this political situation, there is quite a bit of uncertainty on the short term (and potentially long term) outlook on the Darjeeling tea industry. The current second flush harvests that make up a significant percentage of the regions revenues are sadly going to waste. As a tea lover, I hope the situation is resolved peacefully and quickly, and production can resume. As a human, I hope that a solution is found that respects the rights and dignity of the locals. The last update I read is that the locals are without telephone and internet service at the moment, which the government has shut down. Again, let’s all hope and encourage a quick, peaceful, and respectful solution in Darjeeling.

Now, back to Avongrove Tea Estate. The estate consists of about 184 hectares of land dedicated to tea bushes. The altitude ranges from 2,200 feet to 5,700 feet above sea level. The estate is located on the banks of the Balason River, in the Rangbhang Valley. This is a certified organic estate by the USDA and JAS. The factory produces between 60,000 and 70,000 kilograms of tea per year. The estate employs about 500 workers, who all live with their families on the estate lands. There are a number of photos provided on the Avongrove Tea Estate website. Below is a Google map showing the area in which Avongrove Tea Estate is located.

Let’s get to the review…

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Avongrove Euphoria 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves range in color from reddish brown to dark charcoal brown, with silver-yellow buds. The mixture consists of large leaf fragments, some unbroken leaves, and a generous portion of unbroken buds covered in downy-like fuzz. The stems show a two leaf and bud pluck. The leaves are hand plucked and machine rolled. The overall appearance is very impressive and high-end. The aroma has beautiful scents of roses, grapes, raw cocoa, leather, and a touch of vanilla.

Dry leaves were infused in 200°F water for 3:00 minutes.

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Avongrove Euphoria 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea – Liquid

The liquid has a bright, honey-like golden yellow color. The aroma is luxurious, and carries fresh scents of roses, daisies, grapes, and lighter touches of cocoa and vanilla. The body is medium, with a velvety, incredibly smooth texture. The taste has dominant floral notes of roses and daisies, a less dominant note of grapes, and much lighter notes of cocoa, vanilla, and leather. The aftertaste carries the floral character and a touch of sweetness.

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Avongrove Euphoria 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a fairly uniform copper brown color, with the largest fragments having a green tint. The mixture consists of large leaf fragments and unbroken leaves and buds.  There are very few bare stems in the mix, and the few that are here are rather young. This sample actually had one of the largest unbroken leaves that I have ever found in a Darjeeling tea, measuring about 2.25 inches (5.7 cm) in length. The leaves are smooth, silky, yet fairly durable after two infusions. The aroma carries the scents of roses, daisies, grape, and lighter scents of leather.

I can easily summarize the Avongrove Euphoria Darjeeling tea in one word: Luxurious. Every aspect of this review lived up to that word, the observation of the dry leaves, the liquid, and the infused leaves. I cannot easily find any aspect of this tea that can be described in any other light than highly positive. And yes, even the descriptions of leather in the aroma and taste add to the luxurious overall experience of this tea! This tea is on the more expensive side of the current second flush Darjeeling teas available, but it is definitely worthy of that price tag.

Speaking of price tags, you can purchase 50 grams of this tea for USD $10.00 plus applicable shipping charges from the Lochan Tea website.

Another thank you to the Lochan family at Lochan Tea for providing this excellent sample of Avongrove Euphoria 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea! Cheers!

Giddapahar Spring Gold 1st Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea from Lochan Tea

As I prepared to write this post, I was reminded that it has been nearly five years since I began reviewing teas. That reminder came when I found that the last time I reviewed a tea from the Giddapahar Estate was back in 2013. It’s amazing to look back, read that review, and notice how my interpretation of smells and tastes have changed, and how the same product from the same estate has evolved.

The Giddapahar Tea Estate is located in the Kurseong Valley of West Bengal, India. The 95 hectares of tea gardens are situated at an altitude ranging from 4,500 to 5,200 feet above sea level, produce an average of 30,000 kilograms of tea per year, and consist primarily of traditional China and clonal tea bushes. The name Giddapahar translated into English means “Eagles Cliff”.

This sample of Giddapahar Spring Gold 1st Flush 2017 was provided by Lochan Tea. Many thanks to the Lochan family for their generosity in sending these samples.

Let’s get to the review…

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Giddapahar Spring Gold 1st Flush 2017 Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have the typical Darjeeling 1st flush variance in color, ranging from pale green to dark brown. The leaves are all medium to large fragments, with few bare stems, and some silver tips in the mix. The leaves have the standard rolled appearance. The aroma has scents of brown sugar, toasted oats, wild flowers, honey, and light cinnamon. It is a very sweet, enticing aroma.

Dry leaves were infused in 190°F water for 3:00 minutes.

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Giddapahar Spring Gold 1st Flush 2017 Liquid

The tea liquid had a bright, pale yellow, honey-like color. The aroma had scents of roses, toasted oats, wild blowers, brown sugar, and light honey. The body was medium, with a silky, mellow texture that seemed to coat the tongue and throat as it passed. The taste had notes of roses, wild flowers, and lighter notes of toasted oats, honey, and brown sugar. The floral character dominated the taste, and the aftertaste maintained a lingering, dominantly floral character. The tea had a noticeable and tangible uplifting energy, which is something that I truly appreciate in a good quality Darjeeling 1st flush tea.

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Giddapahar Spring Gold 1st Flush 2017 Wet Leaves

The wet leaves have a fresh, pale green color, with spots of light brown. The leaves are medium to large fragments, with few whole leaves and buds. The leaves have a smooth, delicate feel. The aroma has scents of roses, wild flowers, lighter scents of honey, and what I would describe as black licorice, which was very interesting. I had to keep resetting my sense of smell to make sure that I was properly smelling the black licorice, but that is my conclusion.

In my opinion, Giddapahar Tea Estate continues to produce high quality Darjeeling style teas with an affordable price tag. The classic Darjeeling 1st Flush characters are dominant (floral and lightly sweet), and the uplifting energy is definitely there. The black licorice scent on the wet leaves was very nice, and I wish I had noticed it in the aroma or taste of the liquid itself. Overall, this was an excellent 1st Flush tea!

You can purchase the Giddapahar Spring Gold 1st Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea from Lochan Tea at the price of USD $9.00 for 50 grams of tea.

Thank you for taking your time to read my review of the Giddapahar Spring Gold 1st Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea!

Rohini Jethi Kupi 1st Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea From Lochan Tea

As I began this review, I looked back on the many times I flipped through my tea selections at home and my office looking for the perfect tea to match my energy each day. Over the past two years, I would think frequently how a fresh, first flush Darjeeling tea would satisfy my desire for something truly unique and unlike any other tea in my collection. For these past two years, I did not have such an option. You can only imagine the suffering I went through … the longing … the despair!

… So perhaps it was not quite as dramatic as described above, or else I would be embarrassed to admit how easy and shallow my life must be. Nonetheless, there were definitely times that I searched to the bottom of my collection hoping to find just a small leftover sample of Darjeeling, and walked away slightly disappointed to have found nothing.

As usual, when it comes to Darjeeling teas and those of the surrounding areas of northern India, the Lochan family again came to the rescue by sending a fine assortment of Darjeeling samples from this years first flush. Finally, my thirst will be satisfied, and I send another heart felt thank you to the Lochans.

If you are reading this blog, then you are probably already familiar with the unique character of first flush Darjeeling teas. If you are not familiar with them, then I cannot suggest strongly enough to find a tea shop with a fresh supply.

There is no descriptive words to really communicate the energy that can be so easily felt after sips of high quality first flush Darjeeling teas. This energy is not generated from the caffeine content and its physical effect on the body and mind, and is not interpreted using any of the typical senses (smell, taste, feeling, etc). In fact, there are few experiences that give such a palpable sense of life energy, in my opinion, than these particular teas from this particular harvest.

Many tea companies use marketing cliches like “Awakening” to describe the “energy” of their teas. Well, I will describe the energy of first flush Darjeeling teas of giving the true feeling and energy of “awakening”. After taking a sip, you feel the energy of the tea plants waking up after the hibernating season, the stored up energy regenerating the leaves and buds. You can feel the eagerness of the tea plant to grow and live. That energy is transferred from the leaves and buds to the water, and from the water to the consumer, if they are willing and able to identify, accept, and appreciate such a gift.

This particular sample is from the Rohini Tea Estate, located in the Kurseong valley of the Darjeeling region of northern India. Click the link above for more information on the Rohini Tea Estate.

Let’s get to the review.

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Rohini Jethi Kupi 1st Flush 2017 Sample Packet
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Rohini Jethi Kupi 1st Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea Dry leaves

The dry leaves have the standard Darjeeling first flush colors, ranging from light green to dark brown. Their is a generous portion of silver, fuzzy tips. The leaves are rolled, and appear to be a two leaf and bud pluck. There are a few bare stems in the mix. The leaves appear to range in size from medium fragments to nearly full leaves. The aroma is very attractive and inviting. Although it seems out of place, and maybe I am misinterpreting what I smell, but it seems like I am getting a scent of roasted peanuts (in the shell), with sweet complements of vanilla, honey, light brown sugar, and sweet hay.

The leaves were infused in 190ºF water for 3:00 minutes. Two quality infusions were pulled from the leaves.

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Rohini Jethi Kupi 1st Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea Liquid

The infusion produces a liquid with a bright, golden-yellow color. The aroma has scents of honey, vanilla, daisies, sweet hay, and roses. It has a light to medium body, with clean texture and a dry feel. The taste has notes of daisies, roses, vanilla, and honey. The aftertaste holds the floral, perfume-like taste, and the dry feel. Floral and sweet characters dominates the senses.

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Rohini Jethi Kupi 1st Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea Wet Leaves

The wet leaves vary in color from fresh, light green to light brown. The pluck is two leaves and a bud. There is a variety of medium leaf fragments, full leaves, and buds. The leaves have a soft, delicate texture. The aroma has scents of daisies, sweet hay, vanilla, honey, and roses. As the leaves cool, the floral scents become stronger, while the sweet scents become lighter.

The Rohini Jethi Kupi 1st Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea was a perfect solution to my thirst for Darjeeling first flush teas. The feeling and energy described as “Awakening” was present and strong. The floral character was rejuvenating, and yet the tea had a very drying effect on the tongue. The scent of the dry leaves will not be forgotten. This was a high quality product from Rohini Tea Estate.

You can purchase the Rohini Jethi Kupi 1st Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea from the Lochan Tea website. They are offering 50 grams for USD $6.00 plus shipping.

Thank you for taking your time to read this rather long review! And another thank you to the Lochan Family for providing this sample to me!

 

Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP1 HS 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea from Lochan Tea

Today’s review is taking me back to my favorite tea estate in the Darjeeling district of India, the Margaret’s Hope Tea Estate, located in the Kurseong North Valley. This sample of FTGFOP1 HS 2nd Flush 2014 was provided by Lochan Tea. I have covered the basic details of Margaret’s Hope Tea Estate in several previous posts, so I will spare you all the redundancy of repeating those details here.

The sample packet has been opened, and a dominantly floral and woody smell is escaping the packet. Let the journey begin…

Margaret's Hope FTGFOP1 HS 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Dry Leaves
Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP1 HS 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves range in color from yellowish-green to reddish-brown to black. There are some light brown, small and bare stems in the mix, as well as a few silver bud fragments. The leaves are all small to medium sized fragments, and are machine rolled. There is some inconsistency with the size and shape of the leaves. The leaves are very dry, and crack easily into coarse crumbs. The smell has scents of wood, toasted seeds, dried grapes, roses, caramel, honey, and hay.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.

My suggestion for at home preparation is to use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 205°F (96°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 to 4:00 minutes. Expect two infusions out of the same serving of leaves, and expect the second infusion to be significantly lighter than the first, but still worth drinking. Add 1:00 minute to the second infusion steep time.

Margaret's Hope FTGFOP1 HS 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infusion
Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP1 HS 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a warm golden orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma consists of scents of roses, geraniums, grapes, honey, toasted seeds, caramel, and light hay. The body is medium, with a gentle and velvety texture. There is a mild astringency. The taste is dominantly floral, with notes of roses, geraniums, grapes, honey, toasted grains, hay, caramel, light wood, and light spice. The liquor leaves a honey like coating on the tongue. The aftertaste carries the grape and floral notes, and a lingering sweet essence is left on the breath.

Margaret's Hope FTGFOP1 HS 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infused Leaves
Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP1 HS 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves range in color from pale forest green to copper to purplish-brown. The leaves are all small to medium sized fragments, and there some small bare stems and bud fragments in the mix. Stems display a two leaf and bud pluck. The leaves have a soft, delicate texture. The smell has scents of wood, roses, geraniums, grapes, hay, and honey.

The FTGFOP1 HS 2nd Flush 2014 Tea from Margaret’s Hope Tea Estate did not disappoint. With a dominantly floral aroma and taste, this tea gave the tongue and olfactory glands a stroll through a field of summer flowers, a welcome detour from the 20°F temperatures awaiting outside my office. The floral character is complimented very nicely by the sweet and toasty tones. The texture and honey-like coating on the tongue completes an overall phenomenal experience, as I have come to expect from the teas from Margaret’s Hope.

Thank you to the Lochan family at Lochan Tea for providing this sample. Cheers!

Jungpana FTGFOP1 Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Organic Darjeeling Tea from Lochan Tea

Today’s review will focus on the FTGFOP1 Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Organic Darjeeling Tea from the Jungpana Tea Estate, located in the Kurseong South Valley of the Darjeeling region of India. This sample was provided by Lochan Tea.

There is plenty of good information on the homepage of Jungpana Tea Estate, but it was the information about the Mahalderam Tea Estate, which is the high altitude division of Jungpana, that really caught my attention. As if altitudes of over 6,000 feet is not enough to please a tea enthusiast, Mahalderam and Jungpana have developed an interesting technique to getting the fresh leaves from the Mahalderam Estate to the Jungpana factory. The Mahalderam Estate is a three hour journey by road from the Jungpana factory. Needless to say that the fresh picked tea leaves from Mahalderam would lose some freshness and quality during that three hour ride. Considering the high quality of the leaves growing at such high altitudes, it is definitely a sad thought that the leaves would lose some quality before processing could even begin. The solution to this problem is a cost efficient, simple, and practical zip line! This zip line starts in the Mahalderam Estate, at an altitude of 6,000 feet, and descends 3,000 feet down the hillside where the zip line ends near the Jungpana factory. The leaves are now transported from Mahalderam to Jungpana in six minutes! Cheers to the person who came up with that plan.

The sample packet has been opened, and the highly attractive scent that I have come to expect from Jungpana teas is easily recognizable. Let the journey begin…

Jungpana FTGFOP1 Clonal 2nd Flush Organic Darjeeling Tea Dry Leaves
Jungpana FTGFOP1 Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Organic Darjeeling Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a fairly uniform dark reddish brown to dark brown color, with some silver bud fragments. The leaves and buds are all medium sized fragments. There are some bare stems in the mix. The leaves are machine rolled, and have a fairly consistent size and shape. The leaves are quite dry, and crack easily into coarse crumbs. The smell has scents of roses, dried grapes, dark cocoa, sweet wood, honey, and a light spice.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.

My suggestion for at home preparation is to use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 205°F (96°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 to 4:00 minutes. Expect two infusions out of the same serving of leaves, and expect the second infusion to be significantly lighter than the first, but still worth drinking. Add 1:00 minute to the second infusion steep time.

Jungpana FTGFOP1 Clonal 2nd Flush Organic Darjeeling Tea Infusion
Jungpana FTGFOP1 Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Organic Darjeeling Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a beautiful reddish-orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of roses, grapes, honey, caramel, fresh cut wood, cinnamon, cardamom, and a touch of stewed apricot. The body is medium-full, with a brisk character, and a lively and clean mouth feel. The taste has notes of roses, grapes, honey, cinnamon, stewed apricot, caramel, fresh cut wood, and black pepper. The spicy and floral notes are carried into the aftertaste, and a sweet, slightly floral essence is left on the breath.

Jungpana FTGFOP1 Clonal 2nd Flush Organic Darjeeling Tea Infused Leaves
Jungpana FTGFOP1 Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Organic Darjeeling Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a fairly uniform greenish-brown to light copper brown color. The leaves and buds are all medium sized fragments. The leaves are a fairly uniform shape and size, and certainly come from a Chinese clonal tea bush. The leaves have a soft, smooth, delicate texture. The smell carries scents of roses, grapes, cardamom, honey, and fresh cut wood.

I am quite impressed by the number of flavor notes that could be identified in the FTGFOP1 Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Organic Darjeeling Tea from the Jungpana Tea Estate. In addition to the aroma and flavors, the color of the liquor was very inviting, and the liquor had a brisk character that gave a spark of energy and enthusiasm from the first sip. The flavor had a great balance of sweet, floral, and spicy notes. This tea definitely lives up to the high quality experience that I have come to expect from the Jungpana Tea Estate. The fact that the estate is organic simply makes this tea, and others from Jungpana, all the more attractive.

Thank you again to the Lochan family at Lochan Tea for providing this sample of Jungpana FTGFOP1 Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Organic Darjeeling Tea! Cheers!

Gopaldhara Wonder Muscatel 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea from Lochan Tea

Yes, I know it is Autumn Flush season in Darjeeling, but I still have a few of the better quality second flush samples to review. Today’s review will focus on the Wonder Muscatel 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea from the Gopaldhara Tea Estate. The Gopaldhara Tea Estate is located in the Mirik Valley. Gopaldhara Tea Estate boasts average elevations of 6,000 feet above sea level for sixty hectares of land, with the highest points reaching 7,000 feet. The total land managed by Gopaldhara is 320 hectares, with 172 consisting of tea bushes. Gopaldhara Tea Estate, along with the Rohini Tea Estate, produces a variety of tea types and qualities, with some very interesting specialty and handcrafted teas to compliment the more traditional lines of Darjeeling products.

This sample, as is usually the case with Darjeeling teas, was provided by Lochan Tea. For their generosity in always sending samples, I would like to express a sincere “Thank You” to all of the Lochans.

The sample packet has been opened, and the welcoming scents of the Gopaldhara Wonder Teas is immediately recognizable. Let the journey begin…

Gopaldhara Wonder Muscatel 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Dry Leaves
Gopaldhara Wonder Muscatel 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves range in color from light brown to reddish brown to black. There is a generous portion of silver tips in the mix, which are covered in soft downy-like hairs. The leaves are hand-plucked, machine rolled, and consist of mostly medium fragments, with some larger fragments also. There may be some unbroken leaves in the mix. The leaves are very dry, and crack easily into coarse crumbs. The smell has scents of cacao, dried muscat grapes, sweet wood, roses, and light clove.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.

My suggestion for at home preparation is to use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 205°F (96°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 minutes. Expect two quality infusions out of the same serving of leaves. Add a minute of steep time to the second infusion. The second infusion will be notably lighter than the first, regardless of steep time.

Gopaldhara Wonder Muscatel 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infusion
Gopaldhara Wonder Muscatel 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright golden-orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of muscat grapes, citrus, rose, sweet wood, and lighter scents of clove and honey. The body is full, with a silky texture. There is a moderate astringency that compliments the sweet and floral tastes quite nicely. The taste has notes of muscat grapes, citrus, roses, wood, light raisins light honey, light clove, and a very light touch of squash. There is also a pleasant briskness to this tea. The aftertaste carries the taste of raisins, spice, and wood.

Gopaldhara Wonder Muscatel 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infused Leaves
Gopaldhara Wonder Muscatel 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a brown-copper color, with a slight variation in the tone of color. The leaves are mostly medium and large fragments, but there are some occasional unbroken leaves. There are some younger buds in the mix, as well as some bare stems. The stems show a two leaf and bud pluck. The leaves have a soft, smooth texture, but seem to be slightly thicker and heartier than many other Darjeeling teas. The smell of the infused leaves is truly impressive, with rich scents of muscat grapes, honey, roses, raisins, and wood. When steaming hot, the leaves also have a citrus scent that dissipates as the leaves cool.

I will say that the Gopaldhara Wonder Muscatel 2nd Flush 2014 is among my favorite teas from this years second flush samples sent by Lochan Tea. The full body and wide array of sweet scents and tastes made the liquor very pleasurable to sip. There was a nice balance of sweet, floral, fruity, and spicy character complimented by a moderate astringency and briskness. The smell of the infused leaves was simply incredible. Gopaldhara Wonder tea was the first Darjeeling tea that I ever tried years ago. It was a favorite of mine then, and continues to impress me today. For the price, I think Gopaldhara creates very competitive Darjeeling teas that will certainly not disappoint.

Thanks again to the Lochan family and Lochan Tea for providing this sample. Cheers!

Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP1 King Clonal Musk 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea from Surajmukhi Tea

Today’s review will focus on the FTGFOP1 King Clonal Musk 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea from the Margaret’s Hope Tea Estate in the Kurseong North Valley of the Darjeeling area of India. I have covered various details of the Margaret’s Hope Tea Estate in previous posts, so I will skip the redundancy in covering those details in this post. This sample was provided by Surajmukhi Tea.

The King Clonal, or Clonal King as other estates call it, from Margaret’s Hope is not one of the varieties of theirs that I have had before. As I have said many times, Margaret’s Hope produces my favorite Darjeeling teas, regardless of the season. Any time I receive a new variety from this beautiful tea estate, it will end up getting reviewed on this blog.

The sample packet has been opened, and the sweet, floral, yet uniquely robust aroma that Darjeeling “musk” teas are known for can be immediately recognized. Let the journey begin…

Margaret's Hope FTGFOP1 King Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Dry Leaves
Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP1 King Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in color from light copper-brown to black, with a generous portion of silver tips. The leaves are all medium sized fragments, and are machine rolled. There are a few stems in the mix. The tips are mostly whole and unbroken, and are covered in soft, downy-like hairs. The leaves crack easily, but do not crumble, and have a somewhat rigid texture. The aroma is very sweet and floral, with scents of grapes, chocolate, roses, light spice, and a light white musk hint. The aroma is impressive.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.

My suggestion for at home preparation is to use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 195°F (90°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 minutes. Expect to get two quality infusions out of the same serving of leaves. For the second infusion, steep the leaves for 4:00 minutes.

Margaret's Hope FTGFOP1 King Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infusion
Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP1 King Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infusion

Sorry, the photo of the infusion did not turn out as nicely detailed as it originally looked on the small screen. Anyway, the first infusion produced a liquor with a bright reddish-orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of roses, grapes, light chocolate, light caramel, and light white musk. The body is medium-full, with a caramel-like texture. The taste has notes of roses, grapes, chocolate, caramel, and light white musk. There is a mild astringency. The aftertaste carries the grape and floral notes, and even the essence left on the breath has hints of grapes.

Margaret's Hope FTGFOP1 King Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infused Leaves
Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP1 King Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a fairly uniform copper brown color, some leaning to a green-copper, others leaning to brown. The leaves are all medium sized fragments. Most of the tips are whole and unbroken, and measure about 3/4 inch to 1 inch (18 to 25mm). The leaves have a soft, thin, smooth texture. The aroma has scents of roses, grapes, light white musk, and light chocolate.

Another strong showing from a product from Margaret’s Hope Tea Estate. The classic Darjeeling tastes of grapes and roses combined nicely with more unique notes of white musk and caramel. The smooth, caramel texture was very pleasant as well. A potent aftertaste leaves a lasting memory of the quality of the FTGFOP1 King Clonal 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea. This product is a perfect example of why I am always excited to receive samples from Margaret’s Hope Tea Estate.

Thanks to Ankit Lochan of Surajmukji Tea for providing this sample. Cheers!

Jungpana Wiry Special 2nd Flush 2014 Organic Darjeeling Tea from Lochan Tea

Today’s review will focus on a product that I have wanted to review for some time, but when I first received the samples, I saw that there were other reviewers who were also excited to get into this sample. Rather than pile on another review of the same product at the same time, I decided to wait a few weeks. Thankfully, that time has passed, and now it is my turn to try out the Jungpana Wiry Special 2nd Flush 2014 Organic Darjeeling Tea. The sample was provided by Lochan Tea.

Since the first time I had Jungpana, I truly enjoyed the experience based strictly on the physical properties of the tea and infusion. As my wife and I become more ingrained in the organic lifestyle, I now have even more reason to be fascinated by Jungpana, being that they are an organic estate. I will leave the organic discussion to others, since this blog is about tea.

The Jungpana Tea Estate is located in the Kurseong South Valley of the Darjeeling region of north India. The estate grows tea bushes on just under 73 hectares (180 acres) of land. The tea bushes consist of mostly China hybrids, with Assam hybrids being grown at the higher elevations. The elevations ranges from 400 to 1,000 meters (1,300 to 3,280 feet) above sea level. Thanks to the Camellia Sinensis Tea House blog for the information.

The sample packet has been open, and a sweet and biscuity aroma is filling the air. Let the journey begin…

Jungpana Wiry Special 2nd Flush 2014 Organic Darjeeling Tea Dry Leaves
Jungpana Wiry Special 2nd Flush 2014 Organic Darjeeling Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in color from light golden brown to copper red to dark brown and black. There are a few silver tips in the mix. The leaves are all small to medium sized leaf fragments. The leaves are rolled. There are few bare stems in the mix. The aroma has scents of biscuits, grapes, light malt, light raw cacao, and light roses.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.

My suggestion for at home brewing is to use three grams of dry leaves for each six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 205°F (96°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 minutes. The same serving of leaves may be steeped two times, with the second steep being considerably lighter than the first.

Jungpana Wiry Special 2nd Flush 2014 Organic Darjeeling Tea Infusion
Jungpana Wiry Special 2nd Flush 2014 Organic Darjeeling Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright golden-yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma is very attractive, with scents of grapes, roses, malt, honey, and a biscuit or fresh baked bread hint also. The body is medium, with a lively, mouth-filling texture. The taste has notes of grapes, roses, malt, light honey, and fresh baked bread. The aftertaste is sweet and floral, and a dry feeling is left in the mouth, similar to dry white wine.

Jungpana Wiry Special 2nd Flush 2014 Organic Darjeeling Tea Infused Leaves
Jungpana Wiry Special 2nd Flush 2014 Organic Darjeeling Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a fairly uniform copper brown color, some leaning more to the brown-green side. The leaves are all small to medium sized fragments. There are a few bare stems, and a few tips in the mix. The leaves have a soft, delicate, smooth texture. The aroma has scents of grapes, light malt, light roses, and continues to carry a light biscuit or fresh baked bread hint.

As usual with products from the Jungpana Tea Estate, the Wiry Special 2nd Flush 2014 Organic Darjeeling Tea was quite impressive. The aroma and taste had a phenomenal blend of sweet, floral, and biscuity qualities that should please any tea enthusiast. The mouth feel of this tea also resembled a dry white wine. Even the second infusion, while considerably lighter, produced a highly respectable infusion for a Darjeeling tea. Lochan Tea sent a generous sample packet, so I am very happy to say that I have enough to make a pot of this wonderful tea later this week.

Going forward, I have some other interesting samples coming this week from the Nilgiri region of south India, as well as more Assam and Nepal samples. I do believe I have some more samples arriving from Satemwa Tea Estate in the near future also, and some organic samples from Sri Lanka. Basically, I have an exciting month ahead of me.

Please take a moment to check out my webstore at http://www.teajourneymanshop.com/ . I had a fairly large order go out this week, and am beginning to run low on the Thea Kuan Imm Thai Oolong, the Jing Shuan Thai Oolong, and the Satemwa Antlers White Tea. The Mount Kanchenjunga Nepal Green is also low. I have not placed reorders yet, while I consider other products, so order these four teas while I have them.

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