Darjeeling Gopaldhara Clonal Ruby Oolong is a rare Second Flush oolong from Gopaldhara Tea Estate made exclusively from AV2 clonal plants. The specially selected clonal plants are grown at higher elevations between 1,700 and 2,100m. The plucking time and processing is specifically geared towards producing a flavour with a more pronounced muscatel aspect that is reminiscent of Taiwanese Oriental Beauty teas. Somewhat more oxidised and definitely much closer to a classic Second Flush black tea, it delivers a rich liquor. At the same time, it is very drinkable, with a clean, fresh aftertaste that is definitely playing towards the lesser oxidised oolong nature of this tea. June 2021 harvest.
You may also be interested in our other 2021 harvest teas from Gopaldhara and Rohini Tea Estates. If you would like to try a lighter, more delicate version that still delivers the unique ‘beauty’ flavour, we can recommend the Rohini Summer Beauty Oolong!
Like all our Gopaldhara teas, we source this tea directly from Rishi Saria, the owner and director of Gopaldhara and Rohini Tea Estates. Gopaldhara Tea Estate is nestled in the Mirik Valley, in the Himalayan foothills, and is one of the highest tea estates in Darjeeling with elevations of up to 2,100m. It is renowned for producing teas of exceptional quality and very often quite unusual character. The estate is also known for innovation, with new types of tea that utilise new and traditional production methods being developed every season.
It is made entirely from leaves picked from AV2 plants. The AV2 plant name stands for Ambari Vegetative 2, one of the various clonal plants popular in Darjeeling. AV2 is perhaps one of the most preferred clones in Darjeeling, even though it was originally developed in the plains. The popularity of this particular plants stems from the prominent fragrance and aroma of the finished tea. This plant is very prone to drought and insect attacks so the best teas come from plants grown at higher elevation in very good soil and that are picked during dry weather.
This Clonal Ruby Oolong has a small, fine and neat leaf with a good amount of tips. It produces a clear and bright dark amber liquor with a mineral and malty aroma with honey notes. In some ways, this is reminiscent of Taiwanese Beauty teas, while still being fully committed to the flavours of the origin terroir. It is definitely on the very far oxidation spectrum for an oolong, being closer to a black tea. The malty profile is smooth, tart and fruity with notes of sour sweet cherries, honey and a hint of cocoa. There are some pleasant mineral notes that point at the Darjeeling terroir throughout. The aftertaste is lasting, yet clean with a mineral honey edge. It’s a very smooth, easy to drink tea without any harshness or astringency so perfect to enjoy by itself.
This tea is best brewed at 90°C for 2-3 minutes and can be brewed 2+ times. Like all top grade teas from Gopaldhara and Rohini, you can try experimenting with gong fu brewing.