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!

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

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

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

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

Let’s get to the review…

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Doke Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2017 White Tea – Dry Leaves

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

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

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Doke Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2017 White Tea – Liquid

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

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Doke Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2017 White Tea – Infused Leaves

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

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

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

Rohini Enigma Gold 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea from Lochan Tea

This week brought an exciting moment for me. I received a package of second flush Darjeeling teas from Lochan Tea. Again, just like the first flush samples I received a few months ago, it had been a while since I had enjoyed a fresh second flush Darjeeling tea.

Considering the political problems that the Darjeeling area is facing, I am especially grateful for the hard work of the Darjeeling laborers and estate managers who continue to do their jobs despite the uncertainty that they are living through. I am also especially thankful to the Lochan family for sending samples. Their generosity never waivers, despite harder times in the Darjeeling tea industry.

This particular sample is sourced 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 Enigma Gold 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a very fresh, attractive appearance, with leaves varying from reddish-brown to dark brown, and a very generous portion of silver-yellow, fuzzy tips. The leaves have a two leaf and bud pluck, are machine rolled, and consists of large sized fragments to fully intact leaves and buds. The aroma has scents of roses, raw cocoa, dried apricot, and a slight earthy scent that does not seem to be an intended characteristic. Overall, the aroma is very welcoming, but the earthy scent does not add a positive note.

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

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Rohini Enigma Gold 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea Liquid

The tea liquid has a bright, pale gold color. The aroma has scents of roses, apricot jam, cocoa, and licorice. Luckily, the earthy scents from the dry leaves do not show up in the aroma of the liquid. The body is medium, with a lush, juicy feel. The taste has notes of roses, apricot, licorice, and very light raw cocoa. The aftertaste is fruity and a little spicy.

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Rohini Enigma Gold 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea Wet Leaves

The wet leaves have a uniform copper brown color. The pluck is two leaves and bud. There is a generous portion of fully intact leaves and buds. The leaves have a soft, smooth leathery texture. The aroma has scents of roses, apricot, and licorice.

The Rohini Enigma Gold 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea is a very good quality second flush Darjeeling tea. I was very excited to open the sample packet and see the quality of the dry leaves. The earthy scent (slight mildew) of the dry leaves was a minor blemish on an otherwise excellent tasting experience. The tea liquid had a phenomenal mouth feel. The juicy, lush character was something that I have not experienced recently, so it was a nice reminder that such a texture exists. Considering all of the first flush Darjeeling teas that I had been reviewing over the past two months, the Rohini Enigma Gold was an excellent introduction to this year’s second flush Darjeeling teas. It is certainly a night and day difference from the Rohini Jethi Kupi 1st Flush that I reviewed in April.

At the moment, I am not able to find a retailer with shipping to the U.S. that is offering this product. I will update this post with pricing and a retailer once I find one.

Thank you to the Lochan family for providing this sample of Rohini Enigma Gold 2nd Flush 2017 Darjeeling Tea, and thank you to my readers who take their time to read this site!

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!

 

Doke Black Fusion 1st Flush 2017 From Lochan Tea

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

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

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

Let’s get to the review…

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Doke Black Fusion 1st Flush 2017 Sample Label
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Doke Black Fusion 1st Flush 2017 Dry Leaves

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

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

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Doke Black Fusion 1st Flush 2017 Tea Liquid

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

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

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Doke Black Fusion 1st Flush 2017 Wet Leaves

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

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

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

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

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

Hattialli TGFOP1 CL Tippy 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea from Lochan Tea

Happy New Year to all of my readers! I hope this year brings as many interesting reviews as 2014. Let’s get started!

While the experience of the Orthodox Golden Mystique Black Tea from Heritage Tea Assam Company is fresh in my mind, I decided to review a product from another tea estate located in the same area of Dibrugarh, India. Today’s review will focus on the TGFOP1 Clonal Tippy 2nd Flush 2014 Black Tea from Hattialli Tea Estate. This sample was provided by Lochan Tea.

Hattialli Tea Estate was given it’s name because of an elephant camp that was located near the grounds of the estate. “Hatti Alli” translates to elephant camp. Hattialli consists of about 408 total hectares of land under tea cultivation, with 164 hectares consisting of clonal tea bush cultivation. Hattialli employs about 650 workers. Hattialli is gaining a very positive reputation for producing consistently high quality orthodox teas over the past few years. With that being said, I am ready to have my first experience with their products.

The sample packet has been opened, and the first thing I noticed is the generous portion of golden tips in the mix. Let the journey begin…

Hattialli TGFOP1 Clonal Tippy 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Dry Leaves
Hattialli TGFOP1 Clonal Tippy 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform black color, with a generous portion of golden tips. All leaves and tips are small to medium sized fragments, and are machine rolled. There are a few bare stems in the mix. The size and shape of the leaves are quite consistent. The leaves are very dry, and crack easily into coarse crumbles. The smell has scents of raw cacao, dried raisins, roses, sweet wood, and a pleasant touch of 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.

Hattialli TGFOP1 Clonal Tippy 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Infusion
Hattialli TGFOP1 Clonal Tippy 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bold, deep red color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of malt, raisin, black pepper, sweet wood, and light rose. The body is full, with a smooth, velvety mouthfeel, and a pleasantly brisk character. The astringency is surprisingly moderate. The taste has notes of malt, cacao, raisin, black pepper, sweet wood, roses, and light toasted grains. The aftertaste is reminiscent of a sweet red wine, and leaves a dry feel in the mouth.

Hattialli TGFOP1 Clonal Tippy 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Infused Leaves
Hattialli TGFOP1 Clonal Tippy 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform copper-brown color. All leaves and tips are small to medium sized fragments. There is a generous portion of tips in the mix, and a few bare stems. The size and shape of the fragments are fairly consistent. The smell has scents of raisins, grapes, roses, malt, red wine, and black pepper.

The TGFOP1 Clonal Tippy 2nd Flush 2014 Black Tea from Hattialli Tea Estate in the Assam region of India is a classic Assam black tea that provides a full bodied and satisfying experience. A splash of cream will help to tone this perfect morning tea down a bit. The cream is not necessary, in my opinion, and I did not find this tea to be overwhelming with it’s moderate astringency. However, I do believe a casual tea drinker will find it more palatable with the addition of a cream or sweetener of some sort. The color of this tea liquor was simply beautiful, and gave a perfect first impression of the full taste that lied ahead.

Thanks to the Lochan family and Lochan Tea for providing this sample of Hattialli TGFOP1 Clonal Tippy 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea. Cheers!

Harmutty Golden Lion 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea from Lochan Tea

The focus of this review is the Golden Lion 2nd Flush 2014 Black Tea from Harmutty Tea Estate and Lochan Tea. The Harmutty Tea Estate is located in Upper Assam, and consists of 374 hectates (924 acres) of land. Harmutty Tea Estate was established in 1870, and is now owned by the highly recognized Goodricke Group and Stewart Holl Ltd.

According to the Goodricke Group website, the estate was named after Queen Harimati, married to King Arimatta. Their kingdom is believed to have spread throughout lower Assam. The queens grave rests next to the Maj Bungalow. Given the estates location by the Dikrong River, and the vast undisturbed forests nearby, the Harmutty Tea Estate is known for offering visitors beautiful landscape views, and opportunities to see wildlife venturing out from the forests.

The sample packet has been opened, and the appearance of the tea matches the product name perfectly. Let the journey begin…

Harmutty Golden Lion 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Dry Leaves
Harmutty Golden Lion 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves are mostly (70%) a uniform golden color, the remaining 30% are a uniform black color. The leaves consist almost entirely of lightly rolled, unbroken buds, with some medium sized fragments in the mix. There are very few bare stems, and those few are quite thin. Although there are some crumbs, the amount is not much of a concern. The buds have fine hairs on them, giving them a smooth texture. The pluck appears to be a fine hand plucked and unopened leaf, perhaps with a younger bud enveloped inside. The smell carries scents of dried cherries, dark cocoa, cherry wood, roses, and clove. The smell is very attractive and high quality.

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 quality infusions from the same serving of leaves. Increase steep time by 1:00 minute on the second infusion.

Harmutty Golden Lion 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Infusion
Harmutty Golden Lion 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a deep orange-red color, perfectly clear and transparent. The aroma carries scents of caramel, roses, cherries, clove, cocoa, and cherry wood. The body is full, with a very smooth, velvety texture. It should be noted that despite the full body, this tea is considerably lighter than other non-tippy Assam black teas. There is a very mild astringency. The taste has notes of malt, caramel, roses, cherry, clove, cherry wood, citrus (lemon), and earth (soil). The aftertaste carries the malt, earth, and cherry wood notes. The tea gives a dry feel to the mouth.

Harmutty Golden Lion 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Infused Leaves
Harmutty Golden Lion 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform copper-brown color. The leaves consist almost entirely of buds. Some of the buds are unbroken, with an unopened leaf and no younger bud inside. There is a considerable amount of fragments and crumbs, but nothing out of the ordinary. The buds have a smooth, soft texture. The smell has scents of malt, caramel, cherry, clove, light soil, and light flowers.

In terms of my personal preferences for Assam teas, this Harmutty Golden Lion 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black Tea ranks high on the list. The appearance and smell of the dry leaves is both impressive and inviting. The color of the infusion is deep and eye catching. The aroma and taste of the infusion are rich, yet not overwhelming. Milk is definitely not necessary to make this a highly palatable and enjoyable Assam tea. The full body and incredibly smooth texture compliment one another very nicely. This tea also did not give me the jittery energy that bolder Assam teas tend to. I infused the leaves twice, and the second infusion, although not quite as good (obviously) as the first, was still tasteful and palatable. Overall, this was an excellent product.

Another thank you to the Lochan family at Lochan Tea for providing this sample of Harmutty Golden Lion 2nd Flush 2014 Assam Black 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!