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…

20170912_082152_Richtone(HDR)
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.

20170912_082347_Richtone(HDR)
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.

20170912_083034_Richtone(HDR)
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.

20170912_102034_Richtone(HDR)
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!

Advertisements

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.

20170629_094355_Richtone(HDR)
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.

20170629_095154_Richtone(HDR)
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.

20170629_112358_Richtone(HDR)
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.

20170420_095718
Rohini Jethi Kupi 1st Flush 2017 Sample Packet
20170420_095911
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.

20170420_101212
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.

20170420_151753
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!

 

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!

FTGFOP 1 CL 1st Flush Darjeeling from Rohini Tea Estates and Lochan Tea

Earlier this week, I was greeted by a surprise delivery with my usual mail: an envelope from Lochan Tea containing a sample of the FTGFOP 1 CL 1st Flush tea from Rohini Tea Estates, in the Darjeeling district of India. This is the first year of my tea experience where I am able to taste truly fresh first flush teas from Darjeeling.

This sample was provided by Lochan Tea Limited. To read more about Lochan Tea, visit their website here. To learn more about Rohini Tea Estates, visit their website here.

The sample packet has been opened, and an uplifting scent of spring flowers is hitting me. Let the journey begin…

Rohini FTGFOP 1 CL 1st Flush 2014 Dry Leaves
Rohini FTGFOP 1 CL 1st Flush 2014 Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in color from bright green, to reddish brown, to light and dark brown. There are a few silver tips, covered in downy-like hairs. The leaves are mostly small to medium fragments. The leaves are rolled. There are a few small bare stems in the mix. The aroma is fresh, with scents of light roses, very light lilac, and light cocoa.

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 three minutes.

Rohini FTGFOP 1 CL 1st Flush 2014 1st Infusion
Rohini FTGFOP 1 CL 1st Flush 2014 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a dark golden-yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of fresh flowers, light honey, light cocoa, and light sweet wood. The body is medium-full, with a lively, almost sharp texture. The taste has strong notes of hyacinth, lilac, and sweet wood. The aftertaste is very floral, with a flowery essence being left on the breath. This infusion tastes like a mouthful of fresh spring flowers, just as I was hoping for. The taste is actually stronger than I expected after feeling the aroma.

Rohini FTGFOP 1 CL 1st Flush 2014 2nd Infusion
Rohini FTGFOP 1 CL 1st Flush 2014 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a noticeably lighter shade of golden yellow color. The aroma lightened some, but retained the floral, light cocoa, and sweet wood scents. The body lightened to medium, and the texture softened some. The taste also lightened significantly, but retained the notes of hyacinth, lilac, and sweet wood. The aftertaste and essence were lighter, as well.

Due to time constraints and the strong possibility that the third infusion would be quite light in all respects, I decided to forego an analysis on the third infusion.

Rohini FTGFOP 1 CL 1st Flush 2014 Infused Leaves
Rohini FTGFOP 1 CL 1st Flush 2014 Infused Leaves

The infused leaves varied in color from fresh light green to pinkish-red to light brown. The leaves are mostly small to medium fragments. There are a few small whole leaves in the mix, and a few small bare stems. The leaves seem quite young and tender. The aroma is very fresh, with scents of wet spring flowers and light sweet wood.

This FTGFOP 1 CL 1st Flush from Rohini Tea Estates was a pleasant introduction to this years first flush teas from Darjeeling. I just received notification of a follow up package of first flush samples from other Darjeeling estates, so I look forward to comparing them all. With this sample, the wood aroma and taste note is something that I do not remember feeling in last years Darjeeling first flush teas. I follow Rohini Tea Estates, as well as Gopaldhara, and other Darjeeling estates through social media, and read that some areas were experiencing droughts this spring. I wonder if the woody notes can be attributed to these draughts. Regardless, the tastes of hyacinth and lilac were exactly what I look for in a first flush tea. These same flowers are finally blooming in my area. As a quick tangent, there is one family of deer who live in my part of the city of Pittsburgh, and they eat all of my spring flowers (crocuses, tulips) every year. This year, they even ate my white hyacinths! The daffodils are the only survivors this year.

Anyway… thank you very much to Lochan Tea for surprising me with this introductory sample of first flush teas. I will be keeping a close eye on the tracking information for the next round of samples to arrive. Cheers to Lochan Tea and Rohini Tea Estates!