About This Tea
How I got it: This another sample I purchased from fellow tea reviewer Oolong Owl. She sent me 8 g of it through the mail.
Where you can get it: Jun Chiyabari Second Flush Nepal is available from Single Origin Teas online.
Jun Chiyabari, a neighbor to the famous Darjeeling tea province, offers truly excellent tea. Notes of maple and floral undertones of rose bring a unique touch. One of the smaller tea estates at around 123 acres, and one of the youngest – planted in 2002! – Jun Chiyabari offers a delicious tea that highlights how high altitude growing can bring out delightful flavors if processed correctly.
Produced in hand-rolled batches with an exemplary level of care, the leaves are nicely curled, and provide a prime example of how high quality tea is not limited to the Darjeeling gardens.
How I Brewed It
Since Jun Chiyabari Second Flush tea is grown in Nepal close to India’s Darjeeling region, it makes sense that it looks similar to a Darjeeling — lovely little spindly leaves with flecks of green, brown, and white. It also smells fairly similar to a Darjeeling, with notes of sweetness, hay, and perhaps wood and caramel.
The rule of thumb for brewing tea Western-style is 1 teaspoon of dry leaf for 1 cup (8 oz) of liquid. Since my teapot held about 3 cups, I took a heaping spoonful of dry leaf (about 3 teaspoons) and steeped it for just over 3 minutes in 90°C water. Darjeelings need to be treated more gently than other black teas; it’s best not to steep them in boiling or near-boiling water. Otherwise, they can taste harsh and metallic.
How Does It Taste?
As it brewed, I smelled that grapelike smell that I assume must be what Darjeeling afficionadoes call “muscatel.” However, I’m fairly new to Darjeelings and I rarely drink wine, so this is something I need to research a bit more.
The brewed tea is a golden brown colour slightly darker than amber, and very clear. The flavour in the cup is light, sweet, and mild. I’m getting notes of hay, wood, and grapes.
Although Jun Chiyabari Second Flush was picked in the summer, it reminds me of an autumn flush Darjeeling that I used to have. My understanding is that authentic Darjeelings have a second flush that’s characterized by strong fruit flavour and a bit of sparkle. This tea, in contrast, is more muted. As it cools, the fruit flavours disappear and it becomes more haylike, with a touch of bitterness on the sides of my tongue.
A Special Note
Single Origin Teas is currently doing a fundraiser to support the development of their own tea estate in Florida. You can choose whether you want white, black, or green tea; how much leaf should be plucked from the bush; and even how thoroughly the dry tea is rolled. If you love the idea of trying tea from unusual places AND want to experience having it prepared to your specific parameters, this is a rare opportunity.