There are four different types of Tea : White, Green, Oolong and Black. The manufacturing method differentiates the final type of tea produced. White are non oxidized or just naturally dried. Green are either steamed or roasted. Black are well oxidized or let's say fully oxidized.
Most of Black Teas are made for a strong liquor and briskness which goes well with sugar and milk. Some specific teas from different origin also have a distinct character to them. For example teas from Assam are known as Malty and teas from peak second flush in Darjeeling are known as Muscatel. There is genuine appreciation for both of them.
Traditionally Darjeeling teas were well oxidized to have a well rounded Muscatel flavour. Then came the clones which were very dense in tips, they were closely planted bushes and while plucking it was easy to pluck very fine bud and leaf shoots. Also some of the clones like AV2, 312 and 157 had very specific fruity notes which was a delight to drink. This changed everything and manufacturers and buyers realized this would be the new thing.
Clonal fields multiplied and grew and the manufacturers started using techniques to enhance these fruity notes. Plucking became finer so you will see these new clonal teas have very good density of tips. Also the fruity notes were more enjoyable when they were prominent and the cups had to be lighter and less dark.
This led to the rise of Oolong Tea manufacturing and techniques in Darjeeling. All gardens have there own styles and there is no uniform practice. Most of it is secretly guarded and not much discussed between different gardens.
From our experience our practice has become to pluck very fine leaf whenever the bush offers the opportunity. Low elevation Oolong have to be mildly oxidized the higher elevation Oolong it is possible to increase the oxidation to get a richer and more fuller cup.
The fine leaves harvested during October/November from high elevations makes very good Oolong teas. The same is the case for leaves harvested during peak Second Flush period in May and June from both low, mid and high elevations.
These teas are becoming more popular and getting premium prices and taking Darjeeling to a different level. Darjeeling Oolong teas are recommended for those who enjoy sweet teas with no astringency.
Gopaldhara produces some of the finest Oolong teas, appreciated for it's fine taste and fruity muscatel character.
We have the following Darjeeling Oolong teas from our high elevated gardens at Gopaldhara & Rohini : Maharaja of Darjeeling, Summer Beauty Muscatel and a standard value for money, Darjeeling Oolong from second flush currently. In Autumn we make Red Thunder and Red Thunder Gold.
Indulge in the finest Darjeeling oolong teas at our online store @ www.gopaldharaindia.com
About our Gardens :
Gopaldhara Tea Estate : Gopaldhara is one of the highest plantations in Darjeeling region. It stretches from 3500 ft to 7000 ft. Established in 1881 and has been making exquisite teas for its worldwide clientele. All our Teas are freshly packed at Gardens so that you get the best flavors and aroma.
Rohini Tea Estate : Rohini Tea Estate is located in the Kurseong valley of Darjeeling. Rohini is the youngest tea estate in Darjeeling. These teas that are made from harvested leaves in Rohini are of the Chinese origin and in the second flush produce exquisite muscatel teas.