I have been curious about some of the Indian teas produced outside of the major tea production areas for some time, but I did not bother to make a point of exploring such teas until this year. This particular tea was the second tea from the state of Bihar that I tried. The first was an oolong that I also purchased from What-Cha, and like this tea, it was also a product of Doke Tea Garden. To be honest, I did not care for that tea and I did not care for this one either. As a matter of fact, if I were to be placed in a position to pick between the two, I would take the oolong over this black tea.
I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped about 3 grams of loose tea leaves in approximately 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt any additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, I noted aromas of wood, malt, caramel, sorghum molasses, plum, and raisin coming from the dry tea leaves. After infusion, I did not note nearly as much complexity. I mostly picked up scents of sweet potato and honey underscored by hints of cooked leaf vegetables. In the mouth, I found soft notes of malt, butter, caramel, sweet potato, honey, plum, sorghum molasses, raisin, brown toast, and wood with distinctive vegetal overtones that reminded me somewhat of both damp grass and cooked spinach. There were slight traces of earthiness and minerality in there too. What-Cha suggested that there were aromas and flavors of rose in this tea, but at no point did I ever come close to finding them. The finish was clipped and very sweet, mostly offering brief malty notes underscored by touches of sorghum molasses, sweet potato, and honey. Even after the lingering flavor impressions faded, I was left with traces of sweetness in the mouth and on the back of my throat.
Well, Doke Tea Garden is now 0 for 2 as far as I am concerned. To me, this tea was just thoroughly unappealing. Not only was it too sweet, but no specific aroma or flavor stood out on its own enough to make it remotely interesting. The tea was just oddly sweet and topped with awkward vegetal notes that neither fit with the tea’s other components nor created enough of a contrast to provide some much needed dimension.
Flavors: Brown Toast, Butter, Caramel, Earth, Grass, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Plums, Raisins, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Wood