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

5 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

I love Lopchu. It,s always in my cupboard.

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I love Lopchu. It,s always in my cupboard.

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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