Doke Black Fusion from Lochan Tea

User comments

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Lochan Tea

Tea Description:

Doke Black Fusion

Invoice Number: DB 001

Season: 1st Flush 2015

Grade: Hand made Black Tea

Cultivar: TV22 plucked from the 4A section

Location: Bihar, India

Size: 6 kilos

This tea comes from a small producer in Bihar, south of Darjeeling. The flat tea garden, next to a river (a power plant outlet), is everything else than the almost eponymous “Darjeeling Himalayan vales” – and yet it can already rival with some of the finest Darjeelings. What is unique however, is that the leaf material is Assamese and indeed embodies their virtues without their climate. Not without reason, the Lochan family have baptized some of their teas with the “Fusion” moniker.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

It is with thanks to the Lochan Tea family that I have been sent this sample to review. I did not know that the Lochan Tea founder Rajiv Lochan was responsible for starting up Doke Farm, one of my favourite sources for Indian Tea. It was Butiki Teas that got me into Doke through the likes of Doke Rolling Thunder and Doke Silver Needle. Needless to say that makes me rather excited and honoured to be sent this directly from source to review.

In-front of me is a 10g sample which is factory sealed and clearly labelled with tea company name, tea type/name, flush info and growing region and also the date it was packed. A nice little touch and easy to read/see what the packets are. Also the packets are black and non see through which I like as it protects the tea from the sun/light.

In raw form the leaves are: long, thinly rolled and curly. Dark brown colour in appearance. They hare a dry wood and sweet cocoa scent.

Steeping Info: 
Method: Gongfu glass teapot – 200ml
Water: Boiling
Infusions: Three – 1m, 2m,3m.

First Steep – 1 minute

Tea is  light golden brown with a red/orange hue and bares sweet wood and sour malt scent, albeit of a subtle and pure nature.

In flavour this starts with light and soft, sweet wood notes before increasing in strength and becoming sour with malt and cocoa, put together with a sweet fruit after taste of dried fig with honey. A combination that worked very well together and each sip was as good as the first.

Second Steep – 2 minutes 

This steep remains mild and pure in flavour but there is a definite increase in the dried fig flavour. Also the difference between the sweet wood and sour malt has now combined as one. Some dryness in the after taste which put together with dried fig and honey has a rather nutty finish. No bitterness at all.

Third Steep – 3 minutes 

Wonderful balance of flavours remain despite this being the third steep. It is less sweet and there is some astringency now but still mild on the scale. Thicker malt tones and less wood but the dried fig after taste remains.

Fourth Steep – 4 minutes (A surprise steep) 

There is enough flavour left in my opinion for another steep, this doesn’t happen many times which is why this wasn’t planned.

The final steep is lighter than the first but was worth going that bit extra for. All that remains is a dry and delicate wooden flavour.

Overall: 

Mentioning I was a Doke fan from what I had previously tried I’m happy to say this lives up to my expectations. This has such beautiful flavours that were very clean tasting and pure, and it had a wonderful array of different notes that combined together very well. On the mild side for a black tea in strength to begin with which plays with the traditional Indian black tea vibe and makes this rather ‘different’ and ‘special’. I particularly liked the honey and fruit notes in the after taste.

Thank you very much Lochan Tea for this beautiful tea sample, I know I will be keeping an eye on this tea for when my cupboard runs low.

Until next time, Happy Steeping!

Assam 1860 Bagged Tea

Assam1860Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Assam 1860

Tea Description:

We’ve been growing tea for more than 150 years. That’s right, 150 years of experience and expertise that goes into making a cup of tea with pedigree. And it tastes delicious.

Assam 1860 is a black tea that celebrates tea itself. It is made only from leaves plucked in the picturesque Thowra Estate, a chai bagan set up in 1860. We ensure that the phrase ‘garden fresh’ lives up to its every promise.

The leaves are plucked, processed and packed in the estate itself, ensuring quality and freshness that is unparalleled. So wherever you are, you might as well be drinking your cup of Assam 1860 on the verdant verandah of the Thowra Bungalow, overlooking graceful rolling greens on our lush terraces.

We can’t wait for you to try our new offering. The plucking of tea leaves has begun in earnest!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I sometimes wonder how serious tea purveyors take their packaging choices.  Tea drinkers are truly an aesthetic bunch of people….the ritual of tea practically begs you to be appreciative of ALL aspects of the tea that will be filling your cup next, including the packaging.  What makes us reach for a certain box of unexplored tea is arbitrary….a certain animal on the logo, a color of font… it’s a science somewhere, I’m sure, but for me, it makes a huge difference in where my eye travels to.

I would have bought this tea.

Assam1860 has a very clean visual aesthetic, with it’s white and green on black modern approach to visual marketing, the tag line “Tea As It Should Be” and the catchphrase “Still Plucking”.  It looks not like the older packaging from the well-established Assam tea plantations…it looks like something NEW.  And we all love to try something new!

The tea bag is also modern looking, with whip-stitching around the edges and a good portion of CTC assam waiting inside.  Again, aesthetically pleasing and already making my tea experience enjoyable!

In the cup, Assam1860 is dark amber and smells of malt with a touch of citrus.  A 2.5 minute steep brings a lovely malt flavor that Assams are known for.  This is not a powdery CTC but a true CTC that gives a well-rounded mouthfeel with a touch of astringency.  This tea would be a wonderful “toss in your purse/pocket” to replace the usual suspect teas at your favorite restaurant. Bold, but not overwhelming, Assam1860 is a solid citizen in the Assam world.  If you are a fan of hearty black teas, this tea is a good bet. Quite honestly as the packaging says, “Tea As It Should Be”.

Organic Arya Diamond Second Flush Darjeeling Tea from Canton Tea Co.

arya_diamond_darjeeling_black_teaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black (Darjeeling)

Where to Buy:  Canton Tea Co.

Tea Description:

One of the Arya Estate’s acclaimed ‘Jewel’ teas. The Diamond delivers the bright, beautifully balanced muscatel flavours of one of the most sought after teas in the world. The dark, twisted tea leaves have streaks of gold and fuzzy silver tips. When infused, the tea is smooth and rounded with a long, sweet aftertaste that evokes dried fruits and nuts.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

When I received a sample of this Organic Arya Diamond Second Flush Darjeeling Tea from Canton Tea Co., I knew I was in for a treat.  I have been very impressed with the quality of teas that I’ve tried thus far from the Arya estate, in fact, I might go so far as to say that they’re one of my very favorite Darjeeling estates.

So, I had high expectations going into this tea and it did not let me down!  This is excellent!

As I’ve said on more than one occasion, second flush are my favorite when it comes to Darjeeling.  I love that muscatel flavor from the second flush and that’s something that you don’t often find (occasionally you do but it’s rare) in a first flush.

This is nice and smooth.  It has a nicely round flavor.  The muscatel notes are sweet and grape-like.  The finish is smooth with very little astringency.  The aftertaste is sweet and fruity.  The above description suggested a nut-like flavor, but I didn’t really get anything that tasted nutty to me.  Instead, I just got a really enjoyable fruit taste that reminded me a bit of a sweet wine.  The cup disappeared before I could finish the review!  That’s always a sign to me that the tea is seriously good!

Rohini Jethi Kupi Black Tea from Udyan Tea

Rohini Jethi KupiTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Udyan Tea

Tea Description:

Jethikupi is a word from the Manipuri dialect (from the North-east Indian State of Manipur) and it means ‘jasmine flower.’ In the Nepali dialect the word ‘jethi’ means the eldest girl child, while ‘kupi’ is a funnel or cone shaped object. Hence this tea points out to the earliest first flush of the tea garden. Rohini Jethi Kupi Black Tea brews into a crisp, full bodied, deep yellow cup with a malty finish.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I have enjoyed the different teas that I’ve received from Udyan Tea to review.  But I – without realizing it – think I may have saved the very best for last because this Rohini Jethi Kupi Black Tea is absolutely DELIGHTFUL.

It has that crisp and clean flavor that you expect from a first flush Darjeeilng tea, but this is more full flavored.  It has notes of malt!  It has a richness to the flavor and it’s nicely round.  It’s not “heavy” – it is crisp and light, but it’s not quite as light as a typical first flush Darjeeling.  This has a more robust body to it and it’s SO wonderfully sweet!

It’s nice and smooth with very little astringency and absolutely no bitterness.  It even has hints of muscatel to it – a note that I don’t usually expect in a first flush Darjeeling, but am always happy to find when I do find it.

This is exactly the tea I needed this afternoon.  I’ve been a little stressed out lately (I’ve been SO busy!) and I needed some time to just sit back and have a tea that tastes so good that the stress melts away.  This tea did exactly that for me.  This is one of the best first flush Darjeeling teas I’ve tried this year.  I highly recommend it!

Gopaldhara Spring Special Black Tea from Udyan Tea

Gopaldhara Spring SpecialTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black (Darjeeling)

Where to Buy:  Udyan Tea

Tea Description:

Goapldhara is one of the highest tea estates of Darjeeling and is located in the Mirik valley. The garden is planted with high quality clonal bushes and produces exquisite teas. Gopaldhara First Flush Darjeeling Tea has a floral aroma and a sweet & mellow taste. A great tea to relax and refresh your mind.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Oh. My.  Goodness!  What a lovely Darjeeling!

I steeped this Gopaldhara Spring Special Black Tea from Udyan Tea in my Breville One-Touch, and I was a little surprised when the tea maker finished it’s cycle – the tea is not black.  It’s not even coppery.  It’s yellow!  Like the color of melted butter that had been slightly browned – but only ever so slightly – still more yellow than brown.

Parameters:  I measured 2 bamboo scoops of tea in the basket of my Breville and added 500ml of freshly filtered water to the jug.   Then I set the temperature for 195°F and the timer for 2 1/2 minutes.

But don’t let this rather unusual color for a ‘black’ tea freak you out – this is some seriously good stuff!  Think of it as liquid gold.

Mmm!

Really smooth – much smoother than I’m used to from a Darjeeling.  There is some dry astringency toward the tail – but not a lot.  No bitterness.  Now, I can’t say that you wouldn’t experience those things if you brewed it at a different temperature (I find that with Darjeeling, it’s important to keep the temperature below boiling because the boil is a tad too hot for Darjeeling tea) and a different steep time (2 1/2 minutes is my sweet spot when it comes to Darjeeling tea).

This is sweet and floral.  No overt sharpness from the floral notes, it’s very soft and beautiful.  There are some delicate fruit notes to this – more like a citrus note than a grape-y note like you might experience from other Darjeeling teas.  Imagine a splash of a fruity/grape-y wine added to your orange juice and you would have the fruit-like notes I’m experiencing.

But mostly, what I taste is a delightful medley of flower.

It’s soft and pleasant – a lovely afternoon tea.  This is the kind of tea you want to serve to people you want to impress.  They’ll be impressed!

Truly a remarkable tea – beautiful!