Rohini Tea Estate is a Darjeeling tea garden that so far has two fascinating teas for us this year. This tea, the ‘Jethi Kupi‘ pluck, is among the first-of-the-harvest of the 1st Flush teas for Rohini Tea Estate in 2019.
‘Jethi Kupi‘ has two meanings: one, in the language of Manipuri in North East India (aka Meitei language) is ‘Jasmine Flower’; the second, in Nepali, is ‘Eldest Daughter’, signifying the first-born daughter. As applied to this delicious tea, the Nepali is particularly appropriate, as this budset pluck is among the first of the harvests undertaken in the spring in this elegant tea garden.
The ‘Jethi Kupi‘ manufacture is unique to Rohini Tea Estate and is produced 100% from the AV2 cultivar, the cultivar that contemporarily has been ‘wow’-ing most Darjeeling tea tastings for the last 10+ years. Based on china bush plantings and with some wild, native Darjeeling plant mixed in, these bushes not only thrive in the unusual terroir of the Himalaya, but also have almost all the elements of flavor and style that Darjeeling enthusiasts expect (and want) in their cup of Darjeeling tea.
We love finding unusual, limited-production special manufactures that are distinctive and exciting – the ones that encourage all tea enthusiasts to break out of their comfort zone and try new things. We knew that the 2019 ‘Jethi Kupi‘ was great as soon as we viewed it – the size of the leaf, the ‘look’ of it, the smell of the dry leaf as we crumbled it in our palm; and then, when we steeped it – WOW this is something that we must have!!
When you open a package of this tea you will immediately be excited by it. One sip will show a truly unique and delicious tea – smooth, lightly-syrupy, focused and substantial in flavor, sweet, with an intoxicating aroma. It has a nuttiness (most like hazel or brazil nut) in its flavor and a fullness to its body, all the while balancing itself perfectly with just the correct amount of clean, pure, classical tea aroma. This tea has the most perfect level of the classic ‘tomato stem’ aroma that a classic Darjeeling tea has expressed – very subtle but important.
‘Jethi Kupi‘ stands apart from our other more traditional Darjeelings in that it does not have their usual briskness, and it also does not show the thinness of most 1st Flush teas of recent years. ‘Jethi Kupi‘ instead has a mellow, substantial flavor profile. For those who love the easy drink-ability of Nepal, Sikkim or other richly-flavored Himalaya black teas, this tea is a stylish alternative choice.
Only a few Darjeeling growers use China bush varietals today and the AV2 cultivar is known to be an old bush clonal that has adapted to its environment very well. It is an excellent example of terroir, that sense of place that is so important in premium teas and that we go out of our way to find.
We thought this Darjeeling would be perfect for our enthusiasts who have been enjoying the Himalaya growths from Nepal that we have been offering for several years. Those hand-rolled teas have a similar style to this, but the Rohini ‘Jethi Kupi‘, being a true Darjeeling, also brings to the cup that unmistakable ‘muscatel’ Darjeeling flavor – raisin-y, wine-y and exotically perfumed.
If you are looking for a treat either for yourself or someone who fancies the Darjeeling and Himalaya growths, this tea should be high on your list of teas to try this season – who knows whether or not we will have it next season.