Doke Rolling Thunder Oolong Tea from Tealet Teas (Lochan Tea Ltd.)

On July 30th of 2013, I tasted a sample of the Doke Rolling Thunder Oolong Tea. This sample was provided by Tealet Teas. To learn more about Tealet Teas, please visit their website by clicking here.

Tealet has built personal relationships with tea farmers from multiple countries, including Japan, China, Nepal, Taiwan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Korea, as well as the United States, and continues to search the planet for high quality farms to work with. Tealet provides a direct connection between tea buyers and the tea farmers, allowing tea buyers to purchase high quality teas, as well as giving the tea farmers an international platform from which they can sell their teas. Rather than simply seeing a certification stamp for organic teas or fair trade practices and deciding to do business based on those certifications alone, Tealet is committed to farms that demonstrate exceptional transparency in their farming and production practices. Certifications can be expensive, and many small artisan tea farmers are not able to afford them. Therefore, even if they do practice organic farming and fair trade ethics, which many of them do, they may not have the “credentials” to display. However, their teas are often times a very high quality and unique product. Thankfully, companies like Tealet are aware of the reality of the organic and fair trade certification programs, and have decided to do their own homework on tea farms. Thus, they have sources that provide teas that are not like what the other companies often offer.

This particular sample was sourced from the Lochan Tea Limited Company, headquartered in Darjeeling, India. Lochan Tea Limited runs a farm called the Doke Organic Farm, which is where this tea was grown and produced. The Doke Organic Farm is located in Pothia, Kishanganj, India. The Doke Organic Farm was established in 1998, and has become a very productive farm since then. It is known for it’s White Teas, and are experimenting with other types, such as this Oolong. For additional information on Lochan Tea Limited, please click here. For information specific to Doke Organic Farm, click here.Now, on to the review.

Tea Review and Analysis Form

Date:  07/30/2013Product Name:  Doke Rolling Thunder Oolong TeaPurchased From:  Tealet Teas

Type of Tea:  India Oolong

Origin of Tea:  Doke Organic Farm in Pothia, Kishanganj, India

Tea Leaf Characteristics Prior to Infusion:

Doke Rolling Thunder Dry
Aroma Sweet, Malty, lightly floral.

Dryness:  Quite dry. Leaves crack and coarsely crumble.

Color(s):  Light green, dark green, brown, some silver tips.

Texture:  Smooth, twisted leaves, no rigidness

Sizes and Shapes:  Some whole leaves, some buds, some curling. Most leaves range in length from 1/2 inch to 1 inch  (1.25 cm to 2.54 cm).

Unique Characteristics:  Some leaves have a silver line that run the length of the leaf. Quite a few silver tips present.

Sample Measurements:

Amount of Water:  8 oz (237 mL)

Amount of Tea:  3 grams

Tea Liquor Evaluation

First Infusion:
Doke Rolling Thunder inf 1
Water Temperature:  190ºF (87.78ºC)

Steep Time:  2 Minutes and 0 SecondsAroma:  Rich malty aroma, sweet, perhaps a very light floral hint.

Color:  Golden Amber, transparent.

Taste:  Rich maltiness, jasmine floral notes, smooth mouth feel, medium bodied, no bitterness.

Comments:  The rich malty flavor of this oolong was unexpected given the fresh appearance of the dry leaves. The taste is unique, in a very positive way. The second infusion may have a slightly better balance of malty and floral tastes.

Second Infusion:

Doke Rolling Thunder Inf 2
Water Temperature:  190ºF (87.78ºC)
Steep Time:  2 Minutes and 0 Seconds

Aroma:
  Malty, sweet, floral hint a bit more noticeable. Malty sweetness is slightly lighter in strength.Color:  Slightly lighter golden amber, transparent, clean.Taste:  Lighter malty sweetness, jasmine floral notes are more prevalent, smooth mouth feel, lighter body.

Comments:  Although the overall taste was noticeably lighter in the second infusion, I did find the overall balance of  tastes to be better, as the malty sweetness was very rich in the first infusion. The floral notes of jasmine were more  noticeable in the second infusion, and combined with the slightly lighter maltiness, provided a nicely balanced cup of  sweet and floral tastes.

Third Infusion:

Doke Rolling Thunder Inf 3
Water Temperature:  190ºF (87.78ºC)

Steep Time:  2 Minutes and 15 SecondsAroma:  Overall lighter malty aroma. Floral and vegetal hints.

Color:  Lighter golden amber, transparent, clean.

Taste:  Light malty sweetness, floral notes lighter but still noticeable, light vegetal notes, very light fruitiness.

Comments:  Despite the lighter overall body, the taste was still pleasing and refreshing. The dissipating maltiness, combined with the light floral, vegetal, and fruity notes make this a light but enjoyable cup. However, I am not sure if  the fourth infusion would be worth drinking. The tastes seem to be nearly if not completed exhausted.

Tea Leaf Characteristics After Infusions:

Doke Rolling Thunder Wet

Color(s):  Half fresh green, the rest light brown to brown.Sizes and Shapes:  Some buds, a few whole leafs. Mostly broken leaf fragments. Some stems.

Unique Characteristics:  The leaves appear very fresh and almost alive. Some of the leaves were whole with a bud intact. Smell of the leaves is very malty. It actually reminded me of the smell of trub leftover after brewing beer. Yes, I  tried brewing a few beers a year or so ago. I decided to stick with tea! The trub smells very malty and sweet, and so  do these infused leaves. Despite the light taste of the third cup, the leaves still have a durable feel. Perhaps they can  take on a fourth infusion.
Final Comments:  This is a very unique oolong in many ways. From the fresh and wondrous look of the dry leaves to the rich aroma and tastes of malty sweetness in each of the three infusions. Even the smell of the infused leaves was unlike any other oolong tea that I have experienced. It is difficult for me to compare this oolong to the Chinese or Formosa oolongs that I am more familiar with. This oolong is something different in many positive ways. I think this could be a very popular style of oolong if more people were familiar with it.
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