Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What-Cha: Darjeeling 2nd Flush 2014 Rohini Clonal Special Tippy Black Tea, A Tea Review

It is a sleepy kinda day today, chilly and rainy, a real 'spring day' to me. I think it might be because I spent half of my life in the northeast, but to me, spring means lots of rain showers and being able to go out in the world wearing fluffy sweaters and only one pair of pants, I might even dare going out in a skirt or not wearing a hat! It is honestly some of my favorite weather, perfect for hot tea, enjoying nature, and snuggling under a blanket. A good day for mushroom hunting or doing artsy things, whichever my mood prefers.

Today's tea came to me from India, by way of England, because getting boxes from other countries makes me immensely happy. Darjeeling 2nd Flush 2014 Rohini Clonal Special Tippy Black Tea from What-Cha comes from the Rohini Tea Estate in Kurseong Valley, which is quite beautiful if you go look at pictures, very lush and green. This tea is not quite lush and green, but slightly fuzzy and rich brown, as a 2nd flush should be. Hehe, in my notebook I list the aroma first as 'whoa!' and then actually describe it! The tea starts with a touch of tobacco and malt, and then moves on to raisins and rich, sweet, molasses. I do enjoy the level of richness that these leaves have, and the tobacco note is unusual but quite pleasant.

Into the steeping apparatus the leaves have gone, for a happy steeping time. After they steep the now steaming and soggy leaves have a much sweeter aroma, with notes of molasses, malt, fruit (specifically raisins and dried flowers) and a finish of honey and distant flowers. The liquid is creamy sweet with notes of muscadines, honey, and autumn leaves. Oddly the aroma of the liquid reminds me of sunshine and warmth, it imparts a laziness to my brain.

This tea is delightfully rich and smooth, but I am such a sucker for Darjeeling, I have developed a bit of an addiction to them, and I am constantly waffling between which flush is my favorite. The thing I love most about it is how it reminds me of summer, the best parts of summer, with 2nd flush bringing memories of lazy late summer where everything takes on a golden tone. The taste starts off with a blend of muscadines and scuppernongs with a tiny bit of raisin, this moves on to toasted nuts, autumn leaves, and a really pleasant and surprising orange blossom finish. It is very warm and soothing, much like sitting in a patch of sunlight.


  1. Aw, love the little froggies! I have the red one, too. Have been hearing them in the evenings, too.

    1. Lucky! There are no frogs where I live (one of the reasons I had to have frogs as my teapets) and I miss their songs.

  2. Great review. I have a quick question... I've been in the market lately for my first Darjeeling, and frankly I'm overwhelmed. Between all the flushes, estates, etc, there are soooo many different ones out there, and I want my first impression to be a good one. Would you say this one is a good "intro Darjeeling"? I just noticed how cheap it is on What-Cha right now. I always hear that the muscat flavor/scent is a signature for Darjeelings, does this one have that?

    1. Darjeeling is such a complex tea, so I totally get being overwhelmed, I have tasted a bunch and I still get overwhelmed by them all! Both What-Cha and Golden Tips Tea really expanded my education on the subject of Darjeelings, so I can certainly recommend both companies. Plus they both have samplers that act as introductions to the region.

      The real important thing is what do you want in the tea, if you want a lighter more 'fresh grape' muscatel taste then go for a first flush, if you want a more 'raisin' muscatel taste second is the way to go, I will leave out the other flushes for now, because they are not as predominant in the market.

      As for good introductions, for first flush I would say this one: it has all the notes of what I now consider an iconic Darjeeling, and I tend to use it as a measuring pole with all other first flushes, so far none have taken the title of best away from it ;)

      For second flush, the one reviewed here is a great intro, it has a strong muscatel taste and aroma to it, and it is one of my favorites.

      My biggest point of advice, which you might already know, but I tell everyone because it made me go from thinking that Darjeelings were nasty to being one of my favorites: Do not boil the water! I find that 195 degrees is the perfect temperature.

      Good luck on your Darjeeling journey! I hope you find ones that taste amazing :D

    2. Hey, thanks for the response! I just ordered my first batch of this tea and I'm trying it out tomorrow. From there I'll be moving onto a 1st flush to see how it is!