The broad Doke River in Bihar flows through the land of the Buddha. It seems like the perfect setting for lush and abundant tea gardens, but it took pioneers like Rajiv Lochan to realize that potential.
Rather large leaves, wiry, hand rolled and rather tightly hand-rolled at that. Instead of shredding / cutting, the producer has decided for strenuous rolling to break the leaf structures, which leads to a different flavour style,. Dark colour, blackish, fairly even colour and size.
Those more familiar with modern-style First Flushes might suspect over-firing here, but the leaves' smell does not yet bear that out. However, the leaves are very crisp, prone to breakage and extremely spry, and I wonder whether the first employ of Doke's new hypokauston oven has have led to over-drying, possibly due to insufficient humidification of the air intake. Very rich smell, round and earthy, reminiscent of wet saw dust, a bit sensuous, like a thick cover of autumn leaves. Also some undertones of macerating fruit (decomposing apples).
Wet leaves show many tips and first leaves, of uniformly small leaf size. Only rarely (small) second leaves. Leaves are mostly intact. Due to very hard rolling, the leaves did not unfold upon first steeping, only opened up a little. One is made curious whether the higher labour cost invested in plucking also will show in the liquor. Smell is a bit rounder and muskier than dry leaf. Cedar notes. Sweet-musky Complex, but not very differentiated in the nose.
3 minutes steeping time at about 90° C (hotter than recommended), in an open glass steeping vessel. Warm red-brown with aged copper tones. Astonishingly clear; some visible particles which sediment very quickly, but not muddy or cloudy, showing a good leaf preparation and careful winnowing. Smell is reminiscent of cedar and venison. Earthy not mossy. Slight esterification. Rajiv' Lochan's personal predilection for Pu-Erhs shows a little bit in this style (though the tea has undergone no fermentation). The thorough leaf oxidation marks the style. And the combined long experience of the makers has guarded them from over-withering. Overall, many tasters would characterize the tea as "sweet", though the impression is not sugary or honeyish.
- Bihar, Doke Tea Estate
- Assamica TV 25 / TV 26
- Lot #
- Enigma Gold
- Harvest date
- 122 m / 400 feet
- loose tea
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