Rohini Enigma 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea from Rohini Tea Estate and Lochan Tea Limited

Today’s review focuses on the Enigma 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea from the youngest tea estate in the Darjeeling area, the Rohini Tea Estate. This estate is located in the Kurseong South Valley of the Darjeeling area. This sample was provided by Lochan Tea Limited. To find more information on Lochan Tea Limited, please visit their official website here.

Consisting of a tea growing area of about 146 hectares (360 acres), and cultivating Chinese clonal varieties T-78 and AV-2 in the divisions that produce the higher quality teas, Rohini Tea Estate is gaining respect in the Darjeeling area for both their traditional Darjeeling style products and the various innovative types of tea that they are also producing. For more information on the Rohini Tea Estate, please find the official website here.

I know I have mentioned this in previous posts, but it is always interesting to note the cause of the wide range of colors on the dry leaves of Darjeeling teas. After the leaves are harvested, they are subjected to a very hard withering period, where the leaves lose more than 50% of their moisture content. This lack of moisture causes the oxidation process to slow down, and the rate of oxidation is inconsistent among the leaves. This regional difference in production is also partially responsible for the unique aromas and flavors that Darjeeling teas are renowned for.

The sample packet has been opened, and a sweet smell combining with fresh looking and colorful leaves have me excited to get this review started. Let the journey begin…

Rohini Enigma 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Dry Leaves
Rohini Enigma 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have the typical range of colors from bright green to reddish-brown to dark brown. There is a generous portion of buds covered in silver downy-like hairs. The leaves appear to be medium to large fragments, with the possibility of a few unbroken leaves. The leaves are rolled. The pluck appears to be two leaves and a small bud. I do not see many bare stems in the mix. The aroma is very sweet, with obvious scents of grapes, cocoa, and light flowers. This is a great smelling dry leaf.

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

My brewing suggestion to get the best taste at home is to use three grams of dry leaves for every six ounces (180 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 195°F (90°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 minutes. These leaves can be steeped two times, with a very light third time being possible.

Rohini Enigma 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infusion
Rohini Enigma 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright orange-brown color, clear and transparent. The aroma is floral and sweet, with scents of valley flowers, grapes, and light sweet hay. The body is medium, with a gentle, smooth texture. The taste has notes of valley flowers and grapes, and a touch of fresh hay or grass. The aftertaste is floral, with a pleasant flowery essence being left on the breath, and a slight touch of spice developed after a few seconds.

Rohini Enigma 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infused Leaves
Rohini Enigma 2nd Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves are mostly a reddish-brown color, with a few being light greenish-brown. The leaves are mostly medium to large fragments, but there are few unbroken leaves, with one measuring two inches (51 mm) long. The pluck is mostly two leaves and a small bud, and there are some more developed buds in the mix. After closer examination, there are more bare stems in the mix than I originally observed. The leaves have a soft, smooth texture. The aroma is very impressive, with a dominant grape scent, and hints of flowers and sweet hay.

To be honest, when I first tried the teas from Rohini Tea Estate in past years, I was not very impressed. However, I really enjoyed the Rohini Enigma 2nd Flush 2014, and that tells me that Rohini is improving their processes and developing their skills very noticeably from year to year. This tea had grape character from the aroma of the dry leaf that continued in the aroma and taste of the infusion and followed through all the way to dominate the aroma of the infused leaf. If grape character is what you look for in a 2nd flush Darjeeling tea, then the Rohini Enigma should impress you.

Thank you to the Lochan family and Lochan Tea Limited for providing this sample! Thank you to the management at Gopaldhara and Rohini Tea Estates for continuing to improve your products! Your work and effort are paying off. Cheers!

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Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea from Heritage Tea Assam Company

Today, I have an opportunity to review a tea that is in the top three most expensive teas that I have had, thanks to the Heritage Tea Assam Company in India. This review will focus on their Super Fine grade Silver Needle white tea. To view more information on the Heritage Tea Assam Company, please click here.

The Heritage Tea Assam Company produces silver needle white tea only during the second flush harvest of each year. This tea is produced in very limited quantities, thus the high market value. Such fine white teas originating from the Assam region are also quite rare. If you are able to find this tea, be prepared for a high price tag. If you are a white tea enthusiast, however, then certainly you will want to try such a specialty product.

The sample packet has been opened, and the sight of such fine, fairly short and slender buds is intriguing me. Let the journey begin…

Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea Dry Leaves
Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a light yellowish-green color, with delicate downy-like hairs covering them. The leaves have the typical sickle shape. The pluck is one fine leaf and unopened bud. The buds are fairly short and slender, with the average bud measuring 0.5 to 0.75 inches (12 – 19 mm). There leaves have a smooth, soft texture. Most buds are whole and unbroken. The aroma of the leaves is quite unique, with scents of cocoa, sweet hay, and light dried fruit.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified spring water was heated to 185°F (85°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.

To best enjoy this tea at home, use 3 grams of dry leaves for every six ounces (180 ml) of water to be used. The leaves are quite light and fluffy, so use 2-3 teaspoons to reach the 3 gram amount. Heat water to 175°F to 185°F (75°C to 85°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 minutes. These leaves may be reused at least three to four times.

Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea 1st Infusion
Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a light pale golden-yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of flowers, sweet hay, and light spice. The body is light-medium, with a gentle texture. The taste is fairly delicate, and has notes of flowers, sweet hay, and light spice. The aftertaste has hay and floral notes, and there seems to be slight touch of cocoa that develops.

Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea 2nd Infusion
Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea 2nd Infusion
Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea 3rd Infusion
Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea 3rd Infusion

The second and third infusions were definitely stronger in aroma, body, and taste than the first infusion. The same general characteristics of flowers, sweet hay, and light spice were present.

Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea Infused Leaves
Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a fresh light forest green to light brown color. The pluck is one fine leaf with bud. The leaves are mostly unbroken, but there are some fragments. Although the buds have expanded in the water, they are still shorter and thinner than Chinese silver needle teas. The aroma has scents of flowers, hay, and a light touch sweet red wine.

The Super Fine Silver Needle White Tea from Heritage Tea Assam Company is certainly a unique product coming from the Assam region, which is more commonly known for the robust black teas produced there. This white tea is quite the opposite, with a fairly delicate aroma and taste. The leaves produced three quality infusions, and I am confident that a fourth and maybe even fifth will still product quality infusions. I did have some difficulty in picking out the flavors in this white tea, as I found the undertones of the taste to be very delicate.

If you think that the only good teas coming from Assam are of the black variety, then try this tea! If the Super Fine price tag is too high, then there is also a Fine grade. One way or another, you will discover that the Heritage Tea Assam Company is forging a new path for Assam tea growers, introducing Assam grown teas that are more delicate and attractive to fine tea enthusiasts. As their experience and skill increase, I expect the Heritage Tea Assam Company to gain more popularity among tea enthusiasts around the world.

Thank you to the Heritage Tea Assam Company for providing this incredible high end white tea! 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!

Long Leaf Green Tea from Heritage Tea Assam Co.

Today I am continuing through the samples provided by Heritage Tea Assam Co. The focus of this review is the Long Leaf Green Tea. Heritage Tea Assam Co. is located in Dibrugarh, India.

For more detailed information on Heritage Tea Assam Co., please refer to my review on their Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea by clicking here.

The sample packet has been opened, and a smoky and floral aroma is filling the air. Let the journey begin…

Long Leaf Green Tea Dry Leaves
Long Leaf Green Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a range of colors from pale light green to pale dark green, with some silver tips in the mix. A one leaf and bud pluck is displayed on the stems. The leaves are lightly rolled. Despite the appearance of having fine hairs, they cannot be felt on the dry leaf. The leaves are quite dry and easy to crack. The aroma consists of scents reminiscent of smoke, wood, roses, and forest floor.

Nine grams of dry leaves were placed in an eighteen ounce (530 ml) cast-iron teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for 1:45 minutes.

Long Leaf Green Tea 1st Infusion
Long Leaf Green Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with very light pale green color, clear and transparent with few fine particles. The aroma has scents of roses, forest floor, and smoke. The body is light-medium, with a round texture. The taste has notes of roses, light smoke, mineral, and forest floor. The aftertaste is delicate with notes of rose and mineral, and a light floral essence is left on the breath.

Long Leaf Green Tea 2nd Infusion
Long Leaf Green Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor that was nearly identical to the first infusion. The aroma retains it’s strength from the first infusion, and also retains the scents of roses, forest floor, and light smoke. The body and texture are unchanged from the first infusion. The taste is also nearly identical to the first infusion, with perhaps the mineral and forest floor notes gaining some strength on the roses and light smoke notes. The aftertaste is forest floor and mineral, and the light floral essence is retained.

Long Leaf Green Tea 3rd Infusion
Long Leaf Green Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion again produced a liquor that very closely resembles the prior two infusions, with a light, pale greenish-yellow color. The aroma has lightened very slightly, and retains scents of forest floor, roses, and light smoke. The body and texture have thinned very slightly. The taste has also lightened very slightly, with the forest floor and mineral tastes maintaining dominance, while the roses and light smoke notes are certainly recognizable. The aftertaste and essence have lightened some.

Long Leaf Green Tea Infused Leaves
Long Leaf Green Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform fresh forest green color with a few leaves showing a slight oxidation on the edges. There is a generous portion of tips, and some of the leaves are whole with stem intact. Other leaves are medium to large fragments. Stems show a one leaf and bud pluck. There are no completely bare stems in the mix. The leaves have a smooth texture, but are not as easy to rip as many comparable green teas from other terroirs. The leaves have an aroma consisting of rose, light smoke, and forest floor scents. There is also a very light, ripe dark cherry scent.

The Long Leaf Green Tea from Heritage Tea Assam Co. is quite deceiving due to it’s apparent lack of color in the cup. The liquor itself is quite aromatic and flavorful. The aromas and tastes are very consistent from the first to third infusions, and I would expect to get a fourth out of these leaves. This green tea is definitely on the earthy side of the taste wheel. The aroma and taste of roses is consistent with the Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea from Heritage Tea Assam Co. Overall, this was a respectable green tea worth trying, if you can find it.

Thanks to the management at Heritage Tea Assam Co. for providing the sample for this review. Cheers!

Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea from Heritage Tea Assam Co.

I received a package of samples today that I have been eagerly waiting to receive for some time. Therefore, I had to put everything else aside and do a review. Today I will be focusing on the Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea direct from the Heritage Tea Assam Company, located in Dibrugarh, India.

Heritage Tea Assam Company is one of the few tea growers and manufacturers in the Assam district that are committed to producing high-quality loose teas, and not simply producing CTC teas for the mass market. I was having a rather difficult time finding such a company in Assam that produced above-average quality teas, and when I originally emailed Heritage Tea Assam, I had not heard back in weeks and assumed the worst. I later found out that severe storms had damaged communication lines in to the town. I was quite excited to see the reply email when it did arrive.

So now I have a few products here that I have not had before, high-quality orthodox Assam black, white, green, and even a smoked tea which smells intriguing! Naturally, I had to go with the best black tea first, as this is what Assam is known for.

As a quick reminder to those who may not be aware of what makes teas from the Assam district so unique from the teas of China or Darjeeling, the variety of tea bush that is grown in Assam is the Camellia Sinensis var. Assamica, known for having larger and broader leaves than the Camellia Sinensis var. Sinensis variety, and producing a fuller body and stronger tasting liquor. Many of the different breakfast blends contain at least some black tea from Assam.

The sample packet has been opened, and the bold smell of malt is already dominating the room. Let the journey begin…

Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea Dry Leaves
Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform dark reddish-brown to black color, with a generous portion of golden tips. The leaves are rolled, and are all small to medium sized fragments. There is a moderate amount of crumbs, and some bare stems in the mix. The aroma is strong and sweet, with scents of cocoa, malt, dried fruit, and wood.

Nine grams of dry leaves were placed in an eighteen ounce (530 ml) cast-iron Tetsubin. Purified spring water was heated to 205°F (95°C). The leaves were infused for 3:00 minutes.

Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea 1st Infusion
Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, deep red color, mostly clear and transparent, with a very slight “cream down” effect. The aroma is bold, with scents of malt, roses, and wood. The body is full, with a smooth texture. The taste is mouth-filling, with a strong astringency, and notes of malt, wood, light citrus, and light roses. The aftertaste is sweet and astringent, and the astringent character lingers in the mouth for a respectable amount of time.

Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea 2nd Infusion
Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea 2nd Infusion

One minute was added to the infusion time for the second infusion, bringing the total to 4:00 minutes. The second infusion produced a liquor with a lighter color, displaying more of an orange-red color, with the cream down effect no longer noticeable. This liquor is perfectly clear and transparent. The aroma has lightened, but retains scents of malt, light roses, and wood. The body has lightened some, and the texture has thinned. The taste retains a fairly strong astringency, however lighter than the first infusion. Lighter notes of malt, citrus, and wood remain. The aftertaste and essence have lightened.

Due to a lack of time and assumption that the third infusion will be quite light, I decided to pass on preparing the third infusion.

Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea Infused Leaves
Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform dark copper color. All leaves are small and medium fragments. There are a few bare stems in the mix, as well as a respectable portion of tips averaging about 0.75 inches (15 to 20 mm) in length. The aroma has scents of malt, wood, and light flowers.

This Orthodox Assam Tips Black Tea is exactly what I was looking for in a high-quality Assam black tea. The color of the first infusion was deep and beautiful. The aroma and taste were robust and eye-opening. The body was full, yet the texture is smooth. This tea can definitely replace coffee in the morning, for those of you who care to try switching. The second infusion is certainly flavorful enough to enjoy also. Considering the amount of tips in the mix, I am expecting the other samples from Heritage Assam with less tips to be even stronger in flavor. That will be a welcome adventure. It will also be interesting to taste the silver tips white teas and the green teas. Stay tuned.

Thank you to Heritage Assam Tea for your generosity in providing these excellent samples! I look forward to reviewing the other teas included in the package. Cheers!

Jungpana FTGFOP1 CL First Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea from Jungpana Organic Tea Estate and Lochan Tea Limited

It was difficult holding on to this sample for so long, but I do prefer to mix up the various types of samples that I have so I do not lose my appreciate for one type by doing a marathon of reviews on teas of the same classification. Today’s review focuses on the Jungpana FTGFOP 1 CL First Flush 2014 Darjeeling tea from the Jungpana Organic Tea Estate, and another thank you for the generosity of Lochan Tea Limited for providing the sample.

As a quick tangent, I have decided for the time being to stop referring to these teas from Darjeeling as black or oolong in the titles of the reviews. I generally believe these teas to be oolongs, since there is obviously only partial oxidation in the leaves, most easily observed in the first flush products. However, these teas are not marketed as oolongs, nor are they necessarily marketed as blacks. In my opinion, Darjeeling teas certainly deserve the distinction that they already have garnered from the tea world. Thus, I am going to simply refer to these teas as “Darjeeling Tea” in the review titles.

Jungpana Organic Tea Estate is located in the Kurseong South Valley of the Darjeeling district of north India. The altitude of the gardens ranges from 400 meters (1,200 feet) to 1,000 meters (3,000 feet) above sea level. The total estate covers about 100 hectares of land, with tea gardens covering about 73 hectares of that land.

The sample packet has been opened, and the silver hairs on the tips and fresh green appearance are very attractive. Let the journey begin…

Jungpana First Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Dry Leaves
Jungpana First Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a fresh green to dark green color, with very few leaves showing a reddish-brown to black color. There is a generous portion of tips, all covered in very fresh appearing silver hairs. The leaves are lightly rolled, and appear to be mostly medium to large leaf fragments, with the possibility of a few whole leaves, and some of the tips appear to be quite mature. Some pieces have a leaf and bud with the young stem intact. The appearance generally is very fresh and bright, more so than any other first flush product from 2014 that I have reviewed thus far. The aroma is very fresh and floral, having scents of a spring bouquet of flowers, sweet wood, and light molasses. The aroma has an uplifting effect.

Ten grams of dry leaves were placed in an eighteen ounce (530 ml) cast-iron teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 195°F (90°C). The leaves were infused for two minutes thirty seconds with thirty seconds being added to subsequent infusions.

Jungpana First Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea 1st Infusion
Jungpana First Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a light, pale golden-yellow color, clear and transparent, with some very fine particles accumulating at the bottom of the cup. The aroma is very fresh, with scents of fresh spring flowers, light grass, light wood, and light honey. The body is medium, with a clean, rounded texture, and a fresh, uplifting energy. The taste has dominant floral notes of fresh spring flowers, and light wood. The aftertaste is floral and lightly woody, with a potent floral essence being left on the breath.

Jungpana First Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea 2nd Infusion
Jungpana First Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a slightly lighter shade of pale golden-yellow color. Some very fine particles are present in the cup. The aroma is still quite potent, with dominant scents of spring flowers and light wood. The honey and grass scents have dissipated. The body remains medium, and the texture clean. The taste has lightened some, but remains dominantly floral, with light wood notes. The aftertaste remains floral, and the essence has lightened some. There is plenty of character in this second infusion, so I will attempt a third infusion.

A photo is not available of the third infusion. The third infusion produced a liquor with a similar shade of light golden-yellow color as the second infusion. The aroma, body, and taste all lightened significantly, but had enough character to enjoy. The third infusion was a nice light bodied, and modestly floral, making perfect for a post-meal beverage.

Jungpana First Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infused Leaves
Jungpana First Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves had a fresh and light forest green to forest green color, with few leaves having reddish-brown coloring. There are quite a few whole leaves, and the rest of the leaves are medium to large fragments. There is a generous amount of tips, measuring 18 to 25 mm (.75″ to 1″). The leaves and tips appear very fresh, and have a soft yet durable feel. The aroma has scents of flowers, light green cooked vegetable, and sweet grass.

The Jungpana FTGFOP 1 CL First Flush 2014 Darjeeling Tea is a perfect representation of first flush Darjeeling teas. It looks, smells, and tastes incredibly fresh, and has clean, uplifting energy. The floral taste is potent, but not overwhelming. The tea provided two very good infusions, and the third had enough character to be easy to sip if you do not mind a very light taste. I was impressed with this tea from the moment I opened the sample packet, and I am not surprised! Jungpana has been toward the top of my favorite Darjeeling tea estates since I first tried one of their products.

Cheers to Lochan Tea Limited for providing another incredible sample!

 

 

Rohini Esquire 1st Flush 2014 Black Tea from Rohini Tea Estate and Lochan Tea Limited

Today’s review will focus on the Rohini Esquire 1st Flush 2014 Black Tea from Rohini Tea Estate. Gopaldhara and Rohini Tea Estates were two of the first estates in the Darjeeling area to generously send me samples of their products to try. If you have not tried a Wonder Tea from Gopaldhara, look for it, because they are amazing teas. However, I do not recall seeing this Esquire product in last year’s catalog, so I was excited to see it in the package of samples from Lochan Tea.

Rohini Tea Estate is located in the Kurseong South Valley of the Darjeeling district of India. To learn more about the Gopaldhara and Rohini Tea Estates, visit the website here.

The sample packet has been opened, and the rolled leaves appear quite different than other first flush Darjeeling teas. Let the journey begin…

Rohini Esquire First Flush 2014 Dry Leaves
Rohini Esquire First Flush 2014 Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have the typical first flush Darjeeling tea colors of light to dark green, reddish-brown to dark brown, and black. The leaves are lightly rolled, but the rolled leaves are certainly larger than other first flush Darjeeling teas. These leaves appear to be medium and large fragments, and there is a good chance that there are a few whole leaves in the mix. There are a few silver tips, and very few bare stems. The aroma is very attractive, with scents of brown sugar, molasses, sweet wood, spice, and light flowers.

Nine grams of dry leaves were placed in an eighteen ounce (530 ml) cast-iron teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 195°F (90°C). The leaves were infused for two minutes thirty seconds, with an additional thirty seconds being added to subsequent infusion.

Rohini Esquire First Flush 2014 1st Infusion
Rohini Esquire First Flush 2014 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright golden-yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of fresh spring flowers, wood, light honey, and very light grape. The body is medium-full, with a smooth, velvety texture. The taste is very fresh, and has dominant notes of hyacinth and wood, with a lighter note of honey. The aftertaste and essence are both flowery, and there is a honey-like feel left in the mouth.

Rohini Esquire First Flush 2014 2nd Infusion
Rohini Esquire First Flush 2014 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a lighter shade of golden-yellow color. The aroma has lightened, but retains the floral dominance, and a light honey scent. The body and texture have thinned. The taste has also lightened, and retains the floral character, although significantly less intense. This second infusion had enough taste to be enjoyable, but a third infusion will not be attempted.

Rohini Esquire First Flush 2014 Infused Leaves
Rohini Esquire First Flush 2014 Infused Leaves

The infused leaves varied in color from light to dark forest green, and light brown to reddish-brown. There are some medium sized fragments, but most of the leaves are large fragments, and there are a few whole leaves. There are more tips than expected. There are few bare stems in the mix. The leaves have a soft, smooth texture, and tear rather easily. The aroma has scents of wet spring flowers, wood, and a light spice.

This Rohini Esquire was unique in it’s appearance, and the presence of larger leaf fragments than some other Darjeeling teas, but other than that it was a fairly typical Darjeeling tea with regard to the general characteristics of the tea. By no means is that a negative comment on the tea, just to clarify. The aroma and taste were very fresh and floral. The honey-like feel that this tea left in the mouth was also unique. The color of the first infusion was very bright and attractive. The aroma of the liquor filled the room with a very pleasant scent. This was a very nice product, which I have come to expect from the Rohini Tea Estate.

Cheers to Lochan Tea Limited, as always, for their generosity in providing this sample.

Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP 1 HS 2014 First Flush from Lochan Tea Limited

The next stop through the samples of first flush 2014 Darjeeling teas, sent by the always generous Lochan family or Lochan Tea Limited, is the package from my favorite Darjeeling estate, Margaret’s Hope Estate. Margaret’s Hope is located in the Kurseong North Valley of the Darjeeling district of India.

This review will focus on the fresh first flush harvest of 2014. This is the Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (FTGFOP) 1 HS. The sample packet has been opened, and already my preference for the teas of Margaret’s Hope is being reaffirmed.

Let the journey begin…

Margaret's Hope FTGFOP 1 HS First Flush 2014 Dry Leaves
Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP 1 HS First Flush 2014 Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in color from light to dark green, reddish-brown, light to dark brown, and black. There are some silver tips and bare stems in the mix. The leaves are all small to medium sized fragments, and are lightly rolled. The aroma has scents of sweet wood, caramel, honey, and very light spring flowers (hyacinth, lilac).

Ten grams of dry leaves were placed in an eighteen ounce (530 ml) cast-iron teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 195°F (90°C). The leaves were infused for two minutes thirty seconds, with thirty seconds being added to subsequent infusions.

Margaret's Hope FTGFOP 1 HS First Flush 2014 Dry Leaves 1st Infusion
Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP 1 HS First Flush 2014 Dry Leaves 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, golden yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma is simply incredible, with dominant scents of hyacinth and lilac, as well as very light honey, and very light wood. The body is medium, with a lively, yet velvety texture. The taste is very fresh and floral, with perfect notes of hyacinth, lilac, very light wood, and perhaps a very light caramel hint. The aftertaste is remarkably floral, and the essence left on the breath is potent and persistent. Finishing the last sip of this pot was a sad moment for me. Thankfully, I have enough left in the sample packet to adequately supply my Tokoname kyusu tonight.

Margaret's Hope FTGFOP 1 HS First Flush 2014 Dry Leaves 2nd Infusion
Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP 1 HS First Flush 2014 Dry Leaves 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a less bright, but overall similar color to the first infusion. The aroma, body, taste, and aftertaste all lightened some, but retain all of the same general notes. Despite the overall lighter characteristics, this second infusion was still very enjoyable, and held its properties better than many other first flush Darjeeling teas do.

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The third infusion ended up being very light in all respects, as expected. However, I had no trouble drinking the entire pot. If you do not mind a light tasting tea, then the third infusion may keep you satisfied.

Margaret's Hope FTGFOP 1 HS First Flush 2014 Dry Leaves Infused Leaves
Margaret’s Hope FTGFOP 1 HS First Flush 2014 Infused Leaves

The infused leaves varied in color from light forest green to a light brown and reddish-brown color. All leaves were small and medium fragments. There were some medium sized tips and a few bare stems in the mix. The leaves had soft, delicate texture. The aroma had scents of wet spring flowers and wet wood.

I have quite a few samples from Lochan Tea to get through, but perhaps I should have left the Margaret’s Hope sample for last, because now all of the other samples may not excite me as much as this one did. This tea was incredible in all respects, and the first infusion was seriously an awesome collection of moments. The bright, lively color of the first infusion was beautiful, but sadly my appreciation of it was short-lived, as the aroma was among the best that I have experienced. This aroma was so freshly floral, and it could honestly transport one to a field of freshly opened spring flowers. The taste had the same effect, as well as the aftertaste. This tea had a very strong uplifting energy to it. I have used this descriptive word a number of times in this review, and it sums this tea up perfectly, incredible.

Thank you to the Lochan family, and to all of the people who make this phenomenal tea possible. Cheers!

Dooteriah FTGFOP 1 CH SPL First Flush 2014 Tea from Lochan Tea Limited

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…

Dooteriah FTGFOP 1 CH SPL First Flush 2014 Dry Leaves
Dooteriah FTGFOP 1 CH SPL First Flush 2014 Dry Leaves

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.

Dooteriah FTGFOP 1 CH SPL First Flush 2014 1st Infusion
Dooteriah FTGFOP 1 CH SPL First Flush 2014 1st Infusion

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.

Dooteriah FTGFOP 1 CH SPL First Flush 2014 2nd Infusion
Dooteriah FTGFOP 1 CH SPL First Flush 2014 2nd Infusion

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.

Dooteriah FTGFOP 1 CH SPL First Flush 2014 3rd Infusion
Dooteriah FTGFOP 1 CH SPL First Flush 2014 3rd Infusion

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.

Dooteriah FTGFOP 1 CH SPL First Flush 2014 Infused Leaves
Dooteriah FTGFOP 1 CH SPL First Flush 2014 Infused Leaves

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.

Doke Black Fusion Tea 2014 First Flush from Doke Tea Estate

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…

Doke Black Fusion Tea 2014 First Flush Dry Leaves
Doke Black Fusion Tea 2014 First Flush Dry Leaves

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.

Doke Black Fusion Tea 2014 First Flush 1st Infusion
Doke Black Fusion Tea 2014 First Flush 1st Infusion

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.

Doke Black Fusion Tea 2014 First Flush 2nd Infusion
Doke Black Fusion Tea 2014 First Flush 2nd Infusion

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.

Doke Black Fusion Tea 2014 First Flush 3rd Infusion
Doke Black Fusion Tea 2014 First Flush 3rd 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.

Doke Black Fusion Tea 2014 First Flush Infused Leaves
Doke Black Fusion Tea 2014 First Flush Infused Leaves

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!