Darjeeling Gopaldhara Red Thunder Oolong is a unique oolong tea that comes from the Gopaldhara Tea Estate in Darjeeling. It was plucked in October 2020. This batch is FTGFOP1 ‘Red Thunder’ grade and was picked from clonal bushes during cold autumn weather, with temperatures around 0-12°C.
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 high altitude location of the estate means that in late autumn the weather turns cold quite quickly. When Gopaldhara Red Thunder Oolong tea is plucked, the leaves already start to get slightly frosted. They begin to wither on the tea plants, effectively starting a very slow fermentation process. This is then combined with a very long oxidation process to produce this special tea. It is a very laborious method that has to be carefully controlled so that the leaves are plucked at just the right time. It means that the yield is very low, making this tea a very rare one indeed.
The leaves are somewhat mixed in appearance and produce a golden red liquor with a lovely fruity aroma. When brewed, the character is complex and very distinctive. The flavour is smooth and complex, with sweet and fruity notes of red stone fruits: cherries and plums. There is a herbaceous edge that leaves a vapour of mint and eucalyptus on the palate. The aftertaste is lasting, with a more pronounced stony and mineral edge common of Darjeeling teas. It leaves a positively warming and comforting feeling.
Darjeeling Gopaldhara Red Thunder Oolong is best brewed at 90°C for 2-3 minutes and can be brewed multiple times. Savour this special tea on its own, or try combining it chilled with your favourite dishes that normally call for a glass of red wine – a very tasty and healthy substitute!