What-Cha's Darjeeling 1st Flush 2014 Rohini Emerald Green Tea

Alistair of What-Cha sent me a sample of his Darjeeling First Flush 2014 Rohini Emerald Green Tea with my recent order knowing of my last disastrous attempt at Indian green teas this year. Generally I don’t care for Indian green teas, I feel they overbrew to easily and become bitter; drinking Indian greens makes me feel like that particular type of tea novice who likes all teas except greens because they had a bad experience with them. I like to think that I am not prejudiced against Indian greens, but I do know that I can be overly critical of them. So take anything I say about this with a grain of salt. 

The dry leaves are not particularly interesting; there is a lot of variation in the shapes, size and color of the leaves although this is fairly common in Indian greens. Generally I prefer tea that has a uniform shape and size so I always cringe a little when I see Indian greens.

For my first infusion I brewed at 176°F for two minutes. Even before it was done, I could smell the hay aroma. It had a very pure grassy taste, there was a little fruit notes, something like unripened apricot. It almost had an umami taste, but not exactly.

 For my second infusion I brewed at 180°F for two and half minutes. This time it had a stronger wet straw scent, although I could still get whiffs of hay. As for taste, it still was grassy, but not as pure; this time it had a slightly ripper (but still unripe) apricot taste.

I decided against doing a third infusion, I didn’t feel it had much more to offer and in my experience Indian greens don’t make it past the second stepping. It wasn’t a bad green tea, but it definitely benefits of adding some form of sweetener to it.  While I didn’t use anything in my tea, this teapot easily serves two, so I served the extra cup to my guest who happened to add a little honey to hers, and hers tasted considerably better.

I don’t think I would try this again, I much prefer second flush Indian greens, the muscatel taste in later harvests make Indian greens so much more interesting than first flushes.  I don’t think this is a bad tea, just not one for me. I am not a fan of ratings, but if I had to give it a score I’d probably place it somewhere between seven and eight (out of ten). 


Just a guy who likes tea.


  1. It's funny. I've just blogged on the same tea! I also often have problems with bitterness in green teas, so I've learned not to steep them longer than 30-45 seconds. It works for me. I'm always scared when I see a steep time listed at 2-3, or even 5 minutes... I know it would be intolerable for me. Next, I hope to try a second flush green and see how it compares.

    1. I am always afraid of overbrewing Indian greens, but at the same time I am always afraid of underbrewing them, as well. I suppose I have been spoiled by all those Chinese greens that can be brewed for five to ten minutes without becoming bitter.