When we received the samples of Okayti Autumn Flush Darjeeling and Okayti Autumn Flush Darjeeling Oolong from Mighty Leaf Teas I decided that the most interesting way to sample them would be in a side-by-side tasting. The two are from the same picking at the same plantation, but one has been fully oxidized as a standard darjeeling black tea, and the other has been processed as an oolong, semi-oxidized. Since they are so different from each other, I can’t say with certainty that I would be able to identify that the same leaves were used to produce both of these teas if I did not already know, but they do have some characteristics in common. Strongest among these similarities are a strongly citrus aftertaste and heavy acidity. In this tasting, both of the Darjeelings were prepared identically, using 16oz of boiling water with two teaspoons of tea, steeped for three minutes.
The Okayti Autumn Flush Darjeeling brewed into a nice rich orange liquor, as pictured on the left in the photograph above. As I am usually not very fond of Darjeelings, I was surprised to find that I really liked this one. Its strong citrus notes were dark and orange-like, yet it was mild and pleasant to drink. The primary taste was experienced in the back of the mouth and in the nose and throat. More of its character was revealed with each subsequent sip.
The Okayti Autumn Flush Darjeeling Oolong was also quite nice, but in different ways. It lacked the dominating throat feel of the other and had a much more slippery, round mouthfeel. The taste was experienced in the front of the mouth and was fuller than its cousin. Notes of lemon and black pepper were prominent. It had a bitey aftertaste on the tongue and at some points hinted at the charming flavor of lemon bars. It also exhibited more of its complexity as I tasted more of it.
Two of the people from Mighty Leaf traveled to the Okayti Estate last fall. You can read more about their trip and view pictures of the beautiful Northeast Indian tea plantation on Mighty Leaf’s site.
Built in the late 1800s, the tea estate was originally called Rangdoo, but the tea produced became so popular among British aristocrats, that connoisseurs began calling it the “The Only Okay Tea” and eventually the name Okayti was coined.