Darjeeling Rohini Silver Tips Oolong is a small batch Second Flush oolong from the Rohini Tea Estate grown at an altitude of 900-1,200 metres. It consists of very fine silver buds and smaller young leaves that are picked and processed entirely by hand to preserve the delicate nature of the tea leaves. 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. Unlike some other honey style oolong teas from Rohini, this lot is crafted entirely from AV2 cultivar plants. It produces a smooth and delicate flavour with a sweet taste of floral honey. May 2022 harvest.
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 Silver Tips Oolong is similar in nature to Taiwanese ‘bug bitten’ Oriental Beauty teas. Similarly to the attacks of a little green leaf hopper in Taiwan, this oolong is also affected by the Tea Jassids (Jacobiasca formosana) in Darjeeling. The leaf hoppers nibble the tea leaves during growth so the tea plants react to this attack by producing more polyphenols. During tea processing this produces a unique ‘beauty tea’ flavour (known as mi xian in Taiwan and referred to as muscatel in Darjeeling) that is usually described as having a honey-like taste and aroma.
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 Darjeeling Rohini Silver Tips Oolong consists of very fine young leaves with plenty of silver buds that are medium oxidised. It produces a bright, clear liquor with a fruity aroma. The style of Oriental Beauty is evident both in the lighter cup, the aroma and the honeyed flavour. The taste is predominately sweet, floral and fruity. The distinct floral honey flavour runs throughout. There is also an intriguing nutty note, akin to the flavour of nut skin, that is more unusual in this style. Combined with the rest of the flavours it makes us think of the flavour of nuts preserved in a floral honey. The aftertaste is smooth and clean, delivering more of the same flavours. This is a great Oriental Beauty style of tea that also plays homage to its terroir.
It is best brewed at 90°C for 3 minutes and can be brewed 3+ times. Like all top grade teas from Gopaldhara and Rohini, we can highly recommend experimenting with gongfu brewing.