Darjeeling Gopaldhara Umami Oolong is new experimental oolong from Gopaldhara Tea Estate. It is an early Second Flush tea, picked in May when the local climatic conditions mean that the plants are experiencing much slower leaf growth. The variably oxidised leaf produces a mellow liquor that is just a little lighter of the usual medium oxidised oolong, with a fruity flavour and a savoury finish. This batch is from the May 2021 harvest, which was the very first time that this tea was made!
Like all our of 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.
You may also be interested in our other 2021 harvest teas from Gopaldhara and Rohini Tea Estates.
This Umami Oolong definitely falls within the new experimental output from Gopaldhara. The climate conditions in May, especially at lower and medium elevations are quite dry with low humidity, not much rain but good temperature. These conditions coincide with a greenfly attack, leading to a slower leaf growth. To Rishi this presents a great opportunity for making oolong tea! Although some of their oolong production is really top quality, this tea presents a nice daily drinking alternative that still delivers an exciting and quite different flavour.
Darjeeling Gopaldhara Umami Oolong consists of smaller leaves with a few tips that have a mixed colour and varying degrees of oxidation. It produces a bright golden liquor with a light mineral and fruity aroma. The mellow flavour is sweet and fruity with some light woody savoury notes and a herbaceous edge with a hint of mint. The aftertaste is long-lasting with a herby and savoury taste and a mouthwatering finish. While the ‘Umami’ reference in the name is not immediately obvious in the flavours (it is definitely not the type of umami taste you find in Gyokuro), the savoury and herbaceous touches point to that aspect and are definitely intriguing. In fact these are somehow a little reminiscent of a complex savoury and woody white tea.
This tea is best brewed at 90°C for 2 minutes and can be brewed 2+ times. Like all top grade teas from Gopaldhara and Rohini, you can try experimenting with gongfu brewing.