Rohini Supreme Breakfast First Flush Tea from Darjeeling Tea Lovers

ROHINI SUPREMETea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Darjeeling Tea Lovers

Tea Description:

This Breakfast Tea comes from ROHINI – The Youngest Tea Garden of Darjeeling. This is the only estate which claims to be 100% Clonal.

This tea has a woodsy kind of flavour to it which can be felt in the dry leaves also. The liquor along with woodsy flavour has prominent floral tone which becomes more prominent as the tea cools. The tea has a pleasant mouth feel and the flavour is uplifting.

Learn more about Darjeeling Tea Lovers here.

Taster’s Review:

This Rohini Supreme Breakfast First Flush Tea isn’t yet available this year from Darjeeling Tea Lovers.  I was privileged enough to get some from last year’s harvest.  I had written this review some months ago, when this tea was still available on the Darjeeling Tea Lovers website, but my review was somehow misplaced.  Hopefully this tea will be available again this year and perhaps my review of last year’s harvest will convince you that you should try this year’s harvest!

My apologies to Darjeeling Tea Lovers for the delay in getting this review posted!

When I opened the pouch of this “Breakfast Tea,” I noticed the green leaves.  This is not uncommon with a Darjeeling “black” as Darjeeling teas generally undergo less oxidation than other black tea leaves.

I brewed this tea in my Breville One-Touch, measuring 2 bamboo scoops of the tea into the basket and adding 500ml of freshly filtered water into the kettle.  Then I set the timer for 2 1/2 minutes and the temperature for 195°F.

The tea brewed up to a very light amber-coppery color.  It has a pleasant fragrance that is somewhat floral with hints of fruit.

The flavor is LOVELY.  While the tea is still quite hot, I picked up on very light floral notes with prominent woodsy notes and notes of fruit.  As the tea cooled, the floral notes began to develop.  Usually with a Darjeeling, I notice grape-like flavors.  This is particularly true of a second flush Darjeeling.  This is a first flush so I wasn’t expecting a strong grape-y presence, but, I was a little surprised when the fruit I was tasting was more like melon.  This flavor morphs into more of a grape-like flavor as I continue to sip, but those first few sips were quite honeydew-ish!

When it comes to the layers of flavor in teas, “woodsy” is not one of those flavors that I often celebrate.  It’s more or less one of those flavor profiles that I can take or leave.  It’s not something I usually get excited about.  I’m not usually like “Wow!  I love the woodsy flavors of this tea!”  Then again, I’m not usually like “Gah, I really don’t like that woodsy note.”  For me it’s something that I don’t really mind one way or another if it’s there or not.

But, I really am enjoying the woodsy tones of this.  It’s not a bitter wood or sour wood note.  It’s smooth and beautiful.  It melds beautifully with the fruit and the flower.  It’s a warm, slightly earthy note that is quite appealing.

Since I typically think of a breakfast tea as something that I might add milk and honey to, I don’t know that I’d consider this a breakfast tea.  It’s a brisk, bright flavored tea so I can understand why Darjeeling Tea Lovers might call this a breakfast blend – but I wouldn’t advise adding milk and/or sweetener to this.  It would really overwhelm the beautiful balance of flavors!

Instead, enjoy the gently nuanced flavors of the cup as they are.

Meleng Estate Assam FTGFOP1 Black Tea from Capital Tea Limited

MelangEstateTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Capital Tea Limited

Tea Description:

Beautifully well make chunky brown leaves full of deep golden tips from one of Assam’s best tea estates. These leaves produce an incredibly well rounded and sweet tasting medium-bodied tea liquor with complex malty flavour notes and with stone fruit-like overtones.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I received a sampling of this tea from a friend on Steepster, and I’m really glad she included it with the different samples she sent me!  This is lovely!

Really nice!  I’ve had several really good Assam teas over the last couple of months, and this is yet another.  This has a really wonderful malty tone to it – rich and flavorful – with fruity notes and a very smooth delivery from start to finish with a mild astringency.

To brew this, I grabbed my Kati tumbler and emptied the sample into the basket (it was just enough for 12 ounces of tea!) and then I heated 12 ounces of water to 205°F.  I poured the hot water into the tumbler and let the tea steep for 2 1/2 minutes.

And the flavor is very much what I’d expect from a high quality Assam tea.  It’s rich and flavorful with a medium to full body.  It’s sweet with notes of caramel.  There are lovely stone fruit notes that are reminiscent of a fresh, ripe plum.  As I continue to sip, I also pick up on notes of the sugary sweetness you’d taste from a raisin.

There is a mild astringency as I already mentioned, and there is just a hint of bitterness that hits my palate at mid-sip, suggesting to me that if I had brewed this longer or at a higher temperature, the tea might prove to be too bitter to drink.

As it is though, it’s quite pleasant.  That hint of bitterness does a pretty good job of hiding behind the sweeter notes of this tea.  If you’re looking for a tasty everyday Assam, you might want to try this one.  It’s one I wouldn’t mind reaching for every morning!

2014 Jungpana Nirvana First Flush (FTGFOP1) from Darjeeling Tea Lovers


Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Darjeeling Tea Lovers

Tea Description:

JUNGPANA TEA ESTATE was the ‘show stopper’ last season. Some of the best teas of 2013 were produced in this Vintage Jungpana Tea Estate. We were very eager this season to see what is in store from this estate, and YES yet again this tea has re-defined the First Flush. Undoubtedly this tea is NIRVANA.

When steeped for 4 mins, it gives bright amber liquor and the flavours are very natural. It has a mouthful of flowery notes which only keeps you anxious for what is in store with the second sip. The aftertaste has a faint muscatel note which is a trademark for Darjeeling. Overall a clean crisp flavour with zero astringency.

We actually feel proud to have this tea in our store and THIS IS WHAT A PURE ORGANIC FIRST FLUSH DARJEELING BLACK TEA SHOULD BE. No wonder the teas from this estate make it to the Royal Tea Parties in England.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

On the Darjeeling Tea Lovers website, this tea mentions that it’s a “Special China Black Tea” and I’m not sure exactly what is meant by that.  I was operating under the belief that the Jungpana estate is in India (Darjeeling).  Does the Special China refer to the type of tea plant?

Despite my confusion (it’s easy to confuse me) I found myself falling in love at first sip with this Jungpana Nirvana First Flush from Darjeeling Tea Lovers!

When I’m about to indulge in a first flush Darjeeling, I don’t expect a strong “muscatel” essence from it, it’s been my experience that muscatel is more common with the second flush, not so much the first.  Both flushes are great for different reasons, but if it’s muscatel that a tea drinker is looking for, then they’d be better served to choose a second flush tea.

But, that’s not the case with this Jungpana Nirvana First Flush!  There are some delightful muscatel notes to this tea!  Sweet, grape-y notes with a luscious body to it – I’d describe it as a thick, silky mouthfeel.  There is an almost sugary sweetness to this cup that I’m finding irresistible.  In fact, it’s difficult to actually write this review because I find myself wanting to keep sipping.  I don’t want to put my cup down long enough to write!

It’s sweet and fruity, with hints of earthy/woodsy tones in the distance.  There is a very light astringency to this.  With the first few sips, the astringency was barely noticeable at all, and now that I’m more than halfway through the cup, I am starting to notice the astringency a little more – it develops.

Overall, a really, really good Darjeeling Experience, even if it’s a little different than I would have expected from a Darjeeling.  Different is good!  And be sure to re-steep the leaves!  The second infusion is just as flavorful as the first!

Assam Mangalam Second Flush FTGFOP1 from Zen Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Zen Tea

Tea Description:

Golden tips evoke the hot sun of the early June Second Flush Harvest. One of finest producers in region delivers a beautiful example of what is possible under the right conditions. Slightly heartier and creamier than some whole leaf Assams, this selection picks up deep malty notes of cocoa and subtle fruit.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

It’s been a little while since I’ve had a really good, pure Assam tea … so when this tea arrived I was quick to brew up a pot of it, forsaking some of the other teas that I’ve had waiting for me for some time now.  (Don’t worry, my pretties, I’ll get to you soon!)

And I am so glad that I decided to brew this … it’s just exactly what I needed!  I’ve been feeling a bit off lately … not exactly sick, although I’ve had symptoms, but really, the cause is lack of sleep.  My youngest daughter just started up school again not too long ago and I am one of those people that if they don’t get enough sleep, I start feeling sick with the aches, cold sweats, and nausea.  But, I go back to bed for a couple of hours and presto, I’m feeling much more like myself now.  Hopefully, I’ll get used to the new sleeping schedule soon!

Until then, thank goodness for Assam tea which has the delicious flavor and strength to help me shake what little residual feelings I might have after my short nap.

And this Assam is one of the very best that I’ve tried in a very long time.  The aroma of the dry leaf is earthy and sweet and it brought a smile to my face like I had just met up with an old friend that I hadn’t seen in a while.  The brewed tea maintains that sweet fragrance, although the scent is softer than when the tea is dry.

As for the taste:  Oh wow… this tastes amazing.  It is bold and earthy, with a delectable caramel-y sweetness.  The caramel is further emphasized by the malt tones, and I even just noticed a hint of freshly roasted coffee in there too.  It has a creaminess to it (and this could be enhanced with a splash of cream if you want to go latte, I did not, and still find it quite creamy without) Very rich, very complex, and very much a joy to drink.

And oh yes… it definitely has the gusto to get one motivated, too!   If you like Assam, you’ve really got to try this one … it’s AMAZING!

Jun Chiyabari FTGFOP1 First Flush (2012) from Rare Tea Republic

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Rare Tea Republic

Tea Description:

This easy-drinking selection has a minty aroma and a smooth, full flavor with soft notes of dry apricot in a light liquor. A sweet, balanced selection.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve got to tell you, this year’s first flush Darjeeling teas seem to be green in color!  Each of the three first flush Darjeeling teas I’ve tried from Rare Tea Republic, while technically categorized as black teas because they’ve been oxidized, all have leaves that have made me go back and check the website to make sure that I’m dealing with a black tea and not a green!

That’s neither a bad thing nor a good thing … I’m just so used to looking at a leaf and being able to determine what type of tea it is.  Admittedly, there were a few times I’ve judged incorrectly … perhaps more than a few.  But, I would say that I’m about 90% accurate with those judgment calls.  But with the three teas I’ve tasted from this past spring’s harvest offered by Rare Tea Republic:  the Phoomsering, the Wah, and this Jun Chiyabari, I’ve had to double check to make sure they’re black teas and not green!

But no matter … really, what it all comes down to is the taste, and taste (and quality!) wise the teas from Rare Tea Republic simply are the best!  This Jun Chiyabari is no exception.  It is so deliciously flavorful, with interesting notes of cream as well as a crisp, cooling sensation that is quite mint-ish.  I do taste the sweet, dried apricot flavor to this as well – and it’s quite a lovely contrast to the zesty, herbaceous mint-like tone.

What also sets it apart from other Darjeeling-esque teas is that it doesn’t have the same level of astringency that I often experience with a Darjeeling.  The finish is dry and sweet (like a fine wine) but, it isn’t overly astringent.  The delivery is smooth from start to finish, providing lovely, sweet fruit tones that I am finding irresistible.

The lovely lightness to this cup makes it a delightful choice to serve in the afternoon, when you’re looking for a little pick-me-up but nothing too heavy or assertive.  That’s not to say that this isn’t packed with flavor – it is!  But it is such a creamy, smooth kind of flavor.

Really quite wonderful!  The kind of tea you’ll want to spend time with – often!