2022 Second Flush Rolling Thunder, Bihar, Handmade Organic Oolong
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This is the first time we have featured a tea from Doke Tea Estate from Bihar state in India, famed for the ancient Nalanda Monastery that the Tang dynasty Chinese monk travelled to (albeit without the monkey, the pig, the shark and the dragon). The estate is named after the Doke River which is a tributary of the great Teesta River that flows through Darjeeling and onwards south to the state of Bihar. Doke is located at the militarily important 'Chicken's Neck' (Kishanganj) which until 1840 is part of Nepal and remains home to many native tribes.
Where Doke Tea Estate is has been designated by the Indian government to be a “non-traditional” tea-growing area. On this point, the estate is a shining example, having established an international name for producing the other classes of tea beside red teas. Here, it produces white, green and wulong teas. The estate took 10 years to grow to its current size and is also certified organic.
Doke Tea Estate is owned by Rajiv Lochan, an internationally renowned tea figure, who has 15 years learning his craft in Darjeeling at numerous tea gardens, including Ambootia, Phuguri, and Longview. Doke Rolling Thunder is a rare oolong from India, and has to be made by hand entirely. It is heavily oxidised but lesser than the traditional red teas, and lightly roasted. Interesting to note is this is an Assamica oolong tea, imparting some woody tones to a fruity and sweet style characteristic of a oolong process. Its multi-colour leaves can be easily mistaken to be an Oriental Beauty and in fact, it tastes like it.
We used the Parchmen Tea Evaluation Set, at a ratio of 3 gm to 100 ml of 90°C filtered water for 1 min 30 sec. It develops a beautiful copper colour, carrying complex notes of longan, sugared prunes, red dates, red bean paste and even matcha, with an undertone of wood. Impossible to ignore is the impressively smooth, thick and syrupy mouthfeel, and striking and palpable sweetness reminiscent of an aged raw pu'er tea, this being a result of the higher chemical compounds in the assamica variety. Even when brewed at 3 min, the sweetness is still tangible and there is almost no bitterness. This is an easy tea to brew like a master and should be everyone's favourite tea.
We also included this tea in our Nov 2022 tea box. Read about it here.
Packed in loose tea leaves.