In The Land of The Thunderbolt: Rohini First Flush

Bud and 2 leaf plucking for Rohini First Flush

In the land of the thunderbolt, one feels as though they can touch the sky. Damp and heavy, the humidity is constant while fog moves in. Lightning streaks across the sky, and in minutes the heavens open, and showers act as a commencement for the change of seasons. Soon the sun shines brightly and you get an understanding into the atmospheric ebb and flow that makes Darjeeling teas so special. The Rohini First Flush calls this land home.

ROHINI TEA ESTATE

The youngest tea estate in Darjeeling and huddled in the Kurseong Valley in Darjeeling, the four-section garden spans approximately 146 Hectares, while 108 Hectares is dedicated to young tea. The tea bushes sleep in the winter and from November through February energies and nutrients are slowly stored quietly beneath the earth. Climbing temps in late February – March and increased daylight all contribute to the dry and arid conditions that give way to rain and moisture aplenty. The land primarily consists of AV2 and T-78 clones, the former yeilding distinct honey tones. Rohini has full irrigation coverage, and utilizes the AV2 cultivar for many teas in their portfolio. Below are a few examples of how they prioritize their flushes for varied tea types.

White tea: Uses 1st + 2nd flushes
Lightly oxidized black tea: Uses 1st flush
Oolong: Uses 2nd + Autumnal flushes

ADVANTAGEOUS TIMING

With the COVID Pandemic impacting the production of tea gardens throughout the world including spring harvests, Darjeeling’s presence has been a rarity within the community. From briefly speaking to the team at Adagio, this tea couldn’t have come at a better time; moving at the end of February to make a March release! It was their first tea sourced for 2020 and I was delighted to find a Darjeeling out and ready for purchase so early!

Unfurled leaves midway through my gong fu session

TASTING

DETAILS

Season: First Flush, Late February 2020
Cultivar: TBD
Origin: Rohini Tea Estate, Farmer: Jhapan Thapa
Picking/Processing: Bud + 1-2 leaves
Elevation: ~1350m

MY EXPERIENCE

My Brewing Parameters
Leaf to Water Ratio – 7 g for 150 mL
Starting Temp – 95°C
Infusion time(s) – 20 sec. +5

Eyes Dry: Thin and foggy antique wood leaves with silver buds and spots of sea green. Soft to the touch
Nose Dry: Stewed white grapes, cornbread, hot summer rain
Nose Wet: Fresh cut grapefruit, hot leather,
Eyes Liquor: Tuscany yellow
Mouth Texture: Medium-bodied and clean with crisp structure reaching the top of the mouth
Mouth Taste: Fennel, slight citrus burst, grapefruit zest,
Nose Cup: Light honey, fennel, pear compote
Mouth Finish: Lingering finish that remains dry and clear in the palate
Eyes Wet: Beautifully whole leaves of red clay, prairie green, and dusty plum colors
Body Sensation: Energizing and tingly

RECOMMENDATIONS BASED ON EXPERIENCE


At $0.34/per gram and my personal use of 7g/150 mL gaiwan, the total per session spent is $2.38. With my session finishing around 9 infusions It’s more than enough to claim this tea as a keeper. It’s a beautiful Darjeeling that holds surprises with its peppery spice and herbal qualities yielding to fruit and honey. In addition to brewing with a gaiwan, I’ve found great success in crafting a cold brew using this tea! 2 tsp per 2 oz. of water at room temp or refrigerated for 6 hours gives a refreshing fruit-forward brew, perfect to stay cool and beat the heat!

I’m looking forward to trying more teas from both Masters by Adagio and the Rohini Tea Estate. If you’re interested in trying this tea yourself, you’ll find it HERE. Let me know if you’ve tried this tea or are in the search of Darjeelings yourself!

Steep well!

– Marco


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