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…
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.
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.
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!