Darjeeling Rohini Spicy Black is an unusual black tea from Rohini Tea Estate made from clones of an unknown wild tea plant. This is a rare opportunity to try this unique tea as a very minimal quantity is produced every year. The plants are carefully picked and the leaves are processed by hand to bring out a spiced and peppery profile. This particular lot is a Second Flush harvest from June 2022.
You may also be interested in our other 2022 harvest teas from Gopaldhara and Rohini Tea Estates as well as a Spicy White tea from the 2021 harvest that is made from the same plants.
Like all our Rohini and Gopaldhara teas, we source it directly from Rishi Saria, the owner and director of Gopaldhara and Rohini Tea Estates. Rohini Tea Estate is located along the route that connects the towns of Siliguri and Kurseong. Surrounded by a beautiful natural environment, this estate produces tea from relatively young trees. The estate has had a chequered past, not actually producing any tea for about 30 years after it was shut in 1962. Recently it has been replanted with young tea trees, so sometimes it is referred to as the youngest tea estate in Darjeeling. It is now going from strength to strength and is producing more and more interesting and higher quality teas. Most recently Rohini have been elevating the quality and flavours by focusing on smaller hand processed batches and more unusual types of tea.
This Rohini Spicy Black tea is a prime example of an unusual and small batch hand processed tea from this estate. The plants that are used for this tea are clones of a wild tea plant of unknown origin. When the tea replanting at Rohini was done around the turn of the century, a wild tea tree was found growing nearby that provided the cuttings for these new clonal trees. The history or the type of this original wild plant is unknown. As the newly planted trees were particularly hardy and strong, they have become known locally by the name Bhime after Bhim, a mythological character from the Mahabharata epic who was considered to be very strong.
While the plants are strong, unfortunately the leaves also produce a very rough flavour when made into a fully oxidised tea. As there is a limited amount of plants, there is also not enough output to produce a green tea. Hence a white tea was the first type that was developed to be made from these plants. Due to continued experimentation with black tea batches, this limited 2022 batch was successfully developed due to vastly improved flavours as well as the newly found ability to keep the unique peppery profile when fully oxidised.
This Darjeeling Rohini Spicy Black has neat wiry and tippy leaves that have been carefully processed. It produces a dark liquor with good clarity and brightness. The liquor has a malty and spicy aroma. The flavours are smooth and balanced with mineral, spicy black pepper and capsicum notes. It has a mouthwatering aftertaste that has minimal tannins but delivers a degree of spiced dryness. It is definitely one of the more unique flavour profiles of any black tea that we’ve sampled recently!
This tea is best brewed at 90°C for 3-4 minutes and can be brewed 2+ times. Like all top grade teas from Gopaldhara and Rohini, we can highly recommend experimenting with gongfu brewing.
Darjeeling Rohini Spicy Black tea was first featured in our January 2023 Curious Tea Subscription Boxes.