Second Flush 2012
Organic Rolling Thunder from the Doke Garden in Bihar, India, is one of the most reveared teas produced in 2012.
This experimental Indian oolong created by the Lochan family has received near universal praise from connoisseurs around the world. Some have declared this the best tea they have ever tried; others have suggested that Rolling Thunder matches even the finest oolongs produced by China and Taiwan.
While some of the latter claims are perhaps a touch overzealous, my personal opinion is that the Lochan family are the current avant-garde of Indian tea makers. Their applying of what might be considered more traditional Chinese methods of production to their fine, organically grown Indian teas, sees this family run estate redefining what can be expected from Indian teas - and with delightful results.
I was already a huge fan of Doke's Organic Silver Needle so was delighted to secure some second flush harvest Rolling Thunder Oolong for driftwood.
Rich sweet muscatel and maple syrup, soft stone fruits with hints of musk and smoke.
As with most teas your first impression comes from the dried loose leaf and on this front Rolling Thunder does not disappoint. Picked by hand this oolong reminds me of our Oriental Beauty with its high content of silver tips, and beautiful varied colours.
Once brewed Organic Rolling Thunder produces a bright liquor, golden amber in colour, with an aroma and taste that reveals a complex bouquet of flavours. The simplest description I can think for its depth is that it combines many of the best aspects of white, oolong and black (Darjeeling) teas.
Supremely soft in the mouth this tea opens with bright muscatel notes, a rich deeper sweetness, and edges of apricot or other soft stone fruits. As the flavours develop it reveals its darker tones, hints of spice and musk, the very lightest of smokey edges and just a touch of astringency which balances out the tea perfectly.
Organic Rolling Thunder is an exquisite oolong and one well deserved of the praise currently being lavished upon it.
Longer & Less - for a European style of brewing Organic Rolling Thunder I would recommend using:
Around 2/3 tbs (3.5g) of loose leaf tea per person into a pot of around 90º water*. (Allow freshly boiled water to stand for 1 minute) Infuse for around 2 minutes. For subsequent infusions increase the time by 1 minute each round.
Can be infused 2 or 3 times this way.
Shorter & More - for a traditional Asian (Gong Fu) style of brewing Organic Rolling Thunder I would recommend using:
1heaped tbsp (7g) of loose leaf tea with around 150ml of 90º water*. (Allow freshly boiled water to stand for 1 minute) Infuse for around 30 seconds. For subsequent infusions increase the time by 15-30 seconds each round.
Can be infused 5 or 6 times this way.
Second Flush 2012
I am delighted that we're able to offer some of the 2012 second flush harvest of this beautiful and rare organic silver needle white tea.
The Doke Garden in Bihar, Northern India - the state where Gautama Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree - was established by Rajiv Lochan in 1998 and has already established itself as the finest producer of Indian white tea. Still run by the Lochan family this small garden is considered by many connoisseurs to currently be producing some of the finest white tea to be found anywhere on the planet.
Doke Organic Silver Needle is one of the finest examples of a white tea I have ever tasted. It's easy to see the care that has gone into the hand harvesting of each one of these buds and personally I think this is easily more than equal to even the very best examples of silver needles being produced in China's Fujian Province at the moment.
Soft dried fruits - apricots and peaches - hints of straw and a delicate sweet long lasting aftertaste.
The delicate buds found in this second flush picking are really ugly. To me this looks like pine needles however when brewed this tea produce a bright, clear liquor that's filled with the taste of delicate peach blossom and sweet dried apricots. These flavours combine with a round creaminess and just the lightest hint of freshly cut hay. The mark of any high quality tea is its aftertaste which here is subtle and sweet with light floral edges that linger delicately on the tongue.
These silver needle leaves produce a drink that is bursting with flavour and truly will be savoured by any white tea connoisseur.
Longer & Less - for a European style of brewing Doke Organic Silver Needle I would recommend using:
Around 1/2tbsp (3g) of loose leaf tea per person into a pot of around 75º water. (Allow freshly boiled water to stand for 3 minutes) Infuse for around 2 minutes*. For subsequent infusions increase the time by 1 minute each round.
Can be infused 2 or 3 times this way.
Shorter & More - when brewing Doke Organic Silver Needle in traditional Asian (Gong Fu) style of I would recommend using:
Around 1tbsp (5g) of loose leaf tea with around 150ml of 75º water. (Allow freshly boiled water to stand for 3 minutes) Infuse for around 45 seconds*. For subsequent infusions increase the time by 20-30 seconds each round.
Can be infused 4 or 5 times this way.
*As with all delicate teas, water temperature is crucial. Too hot and you'll ostensibly cook the leaf which will result in an unpleasantly and bitter brew. When using cooler water timing doesn't matter so much. You are far better ensuring your water is at the right temperature, and using a longer infusion - it takes far longer for a tea to become over-brewed this way - than using water that's just too hot which will inevitably ruin your loose leaf tea very quickly!
Darjeeling, India - Second Flush 2012
This FTGFOP1 Muscatel Darjeeling comes from the Sourenee Estate in India's Mirik Valley. While there are perhaps many better known estates we could buy from, for me, Sourenee consistently produces teas I actually want to drink. This particular second flush Darjeeling truly provides a great example of what a fine Muscatel Darjeeling should taste like.