This tea is another special tea from the Jun Chiyabari Tea Garden, a small, premium tea estate located in the mid-eastern Himalaya hills of Nepal. Nepal ‘High Aroma’ Oolong is a really tasty tea, as well as having an exceptional aromatic quality, and we are privileged to be able to offer it to you.
We work directly with Jun Chiyabari Tea Garden for the teas that we buy from them each season. Jun Chiyabari classifies this tea as an oolong, and it is a classic Himalaya oolong manufacture. The leaf is an exquisite pluck and the oxidation and drying have been done with the utmost care and respect for the benefit of the pure flavor ultimately expected from the several steepings that this leaf will yield. Absolutely delicious, fans of the classical styles of oolong manufacture will find the flavor to be at once familiar and similar to that of Eastern China and Taiwan,, but also more flavorful and richer in the cup than expected from a partially -oxidized tea from such a high altitude.
Part of the explanation for this tea’s soft but concentrated flavor is due to the leaf’s time of harvest. Being a ‘later’ harvest (late May into June, as is often the case generally for oolong manufacture in Taiwan) the tea bears a remarkable resemblance to the ‘heft’ of the oolongs of Taiwan that are harvested and manufactured at this similar time of year.
The fresh leaf for this tea was withered (oolong tea is traditionally given an indoor or outdoor withering, and sometimes both!) and it was fired in hot firing pans (like green tea) but then taken off the heat and ‘smothered’ ( a step particular to yellow tea manufacture in China). The color of the leaf is a tad golden and the flavor soft and refreshing, reminiscent of a Taiwanese Baozhong or lighter-style gao shan oolong.
Tea Trekker customers may have picked up on the fact that we do not tend to be fans of teas that are made in a different country (or smaller growing region) from that of a tea’s historic place of origin. We are pretty traditional in our selections and shy away from much of the ‘innovative’ tea that is being made in different parts of the tea world today.
However, we trust the work ethic and traditions that are in place at Jun Chiyabari and this tea is really a delicious ‘interpretative’ tea borrowing from several tea processing styles.
We decided to add our voices to the tea makers at the garden and identify our ‘High Aroma’ tea as an oolong, because to us that seems to be the perfect descriptor. This tea is soft in style and has large leaves that unfurl graciously in the teapot. The cool, clean air of this tea’s origin tea garden and pristine macro environment shows in its crisp and bright flavor in the cup.
The gardens at Jun Chiyabari that produce leaf for this oolong tea are located at 6,000 feet in the ‘hills’ around Hile, a typical Himalaya hill-town, about 15 km west of Ilam (the major tea-producing region of eastern Nepal) not far from Sikkim and Darjeeling to the east, and Sagarmatha (Mt Everest) to the north. We think that the character of this high elevation tea flavor epitomizes the terroir of eastern ‘Nepal’ – which is exactly the effect that Jun Chiyabari is looking for.
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