I did not start trying Lopchu teas until the spring of 2017 when I received a second flush black tea from Lopchu as part of a sample pack from Vahdam Teas. Since then, I have tried two other Lopchu black teas, with this 2017 second flush black tea being the most recent. Their second flush teas are unique in character, not seeming to possess a tremendous amount in common with many other second flush Darjeeling black teas. Compared to the 2016 second flush black tea from Vahdam Teas, I found this 2017 tea to be smoother while still displaying plenty of the unmistakable Lopchu character.
I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped about 3 grams of loose leaf material in approximately 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. No additional infusions were attempted.
Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of burnt wood and burnt chocolate underscored by hints of roasted nuts and spice. After infusion, I found strong aromas of smoke, black cherry, burnt wood, burnt chocolate, earth, spice, malt, and tobacco. In the mouth, the liquor offered notes of smoke, earth, burnt chocolate, malt, burnt wood, black cherry, Muscatel, and bitter, somewhat oily roasted nuts (black walnut, beechnut, chestnut, and hickory) underscored by hints of fig, prune, raisin, nutmeg, tobacco, and honey. The finish was mostly malty, earthy, toasty, nutty, and smoky, though I could still find fleeting impressions of burnt chocolate, Muscatel, and black cherry in places. There was a pleasant astringency that lingered after the swallow.
More drinkable and slightly less astringent than the 2016 second flush Lopchu black tea I tried in the spring of 2017, this was a very satisfying Darjeeling black tea overall. The aromas and flavors seemed to pop a little more in this one. I’ve liked all of the other Lopchu black teas I have tried, thus it should come as no surprise that I ended up liking this one too. It would be a great tea for Darjeeling drinkers who are looking to try something a little heavier, more unique, and more challenging without entirely having to leave their individual comfort zones.
Flavors: Astringent, Burnt, Cherry, Chestnut, Chocolate, Dried Fruit, Earth, Fig, Honey, Malt, Muscatel, Nutmeg, Raisins, Roasted Nuts, Smoke, Tobacco, Walnut, Wood