Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Imperial Tea Garden
Jun Chiyabari is a luxury black tea (Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) with ethereal notes of muscatel that whispers true himalayan beauty. Grown on mountainside elavations reaching 7000 feet above sea level in the Hile Hills Dhankuta district of Nepal. The exceptionally clean air, rich mountain soil and pure sunshine help Jun Chiyabari continually exceed the quality of many darjeeling teas. It is no surprise that Jun Chiyabari black tea ranks so high as a source for powerful antioxidants. With polyphenol levels of 10.7% by dry weight, this is truly a gourmet black tea for the connoisseur and those individuals that desire a healthy black tea alternative.
Learn more about this tea here.
Having tried a couple of Jun Chiyabari teas, I was only too happy to be in possession of another sampling of this Nepalese black tea. Imperial Tea Garden has the “touch” when it comes to selecting top notch teas, and this offering is an example of what I mean.
This is a delightful “Darjeeling-esque” black tea is very much like a second flush Darjeeling, with notes of muscatel, its compelling fruit notes, hints of earth and wood, and a dry finish that is reminiscent of wine. It has a fair amount of astringency that leaves the palate feeling clean after each sip. The aftertaste is sweet and grape-y!
This tea also has a slightly heavier texture to it than a typical Darjeeling, which I would ordinarily classify as a light or even sparkling sort of texture. This has a texture that is more like a Ceylon.
A really charming cup of hot tea in the afternoon, or if you are looking for iced refreshment, this tea tastes great chilled and served with a sprig of mint!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Butiki Teas
Our Nilgiri Frost Oolong originates from Nilgiri, in Southern India and is graded TGFOP (Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe). Since this tea is grown at a high elevation, the leaves are exposed to a light frost during some nights of the winter months. The long thin chocolate colored leaves are hand twisted and produce a weighty body. This smooth tea has notes of citrus, peach, pecan, and oak. There are many qualities similar to a Nilgiri black tea; however, the frost oolong is much gentler and sweeter. This tea is produced in very limited quantities due to the short harvest period and special conditions that must exist.
Learn more about this tea here.
This is not your average flowery Oolong! In fact, this is the Oolong I’d recommend to those who tend to shy away from Oolong teas because they find them to be too floral tasting or too delicate. This has a smoother, robust flavor that reminds me a bit of an masculine, aged bourbon that has been aged in an oak cask … but without that strong alcohol taste!
OK … so that is more of me imagining what a good, strong, aged bourbon might taste like, because I’m certainly no connoisseur, and hopefully, I didn’t come off sounding like I had no idea of what I was talking about. For all I know, bourbon doesn’t taste really masculine or woody or anything else. I’m just shooting from the hip here, imagining how this might compare to the flavor of a top-notch bourbon.
But, what I do experience – immediately – when I taste this tea is the peach tones. So distinct and sweet and yummy! There are also notes of citrus, just as the description above suggests. At first, the citrus notes revealed themselves to be the sweeter side of citrus, but, as I continue to sip, I notice a clear sour note that hits right before mid-sip, and just as quickly as it appears, it disappears. It seems to just drop in for a moment, to offer an interesting contrast.
Nutty flavors, yes, I get those too. Lovely woody notes as I mentioned earlier… and virtually no floral-y notes whatsoever. Even if this does not measure up to the bourbon qualities that I mentioned earlier, this is definitely masculine and absolutely fantastic. And , actually, I think it doesn’t HAVE to measure up, because I’d rather drink this than the finest, most expensive bourbon that’s out there!
This is definitely one of the best “darker” Oolong teas I’ve ever tasted! If you love Oolong like I do, you really MUST try this one.
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Culinary Teas
The best estate in Assam. The soil conditions and climate produce a mellow and malty Bukhail TGFOP to be savored and contemplated. Thick and malty but surprisingly airy with good flavour.
This is a delightful Assam: very rich and hearty, but as the description above suggests, there is a sort of lightness to it as well. It isn’t as hefty as some Assam teas I’ve tried, but where it lacks in that heftiness, it more than makes up for with a smooth, almost silky character. This is a suave, debonair Assam.
One thing that I notice in particular is that this Assam lacks any real hint of bitterness to it. With most Assam teas that I’ve tasted, there always seems to be that undercurrent of bitterness to them, as if to infer that if it had been oversteeped, it would have surely given the cup a bitter bite. But I’m not tasting that here. There is some astringency, and I would classify it as a moderate astringency that develops to an almost strong astringency.
Other than the bitterness, there is much of what I would expect from an Assam: a robust flavor with a nice malty note, caramel-y sweetness, and a solid boldness to it – GUSTO – to rev up the engine when needed. But where some Assam teas can be somewhat rugged and hefty – what I shall call a manly masculinity – this Assam has more of a sophisticated polish that I would liken to a more civilized gentleman-like masculinity. Both types are enjoyable; each in their own way.
A fabulous Assam. If you like to add milk and honey to your tea, this one accepts them graciously, and makes a really good breakfast tea choice. Its smooth quality also makes for a pleasant afternoon tea. I’d recommend this Assam to those who have found the bite of other Assam teas to be more than they can handle. This one may be much more to your liking.
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: KTeas
picked 10 June 2011
Direct from the Glenburn Tea Estate in Khongea, Assam, India!
10 June 2011 harvest pouches contain 8oz (227g). At Glenburn’s recommended 2.5g in 200ml (7 fl-oz) water, each pouch yields about 90 teacups at 26¢ per teacup.
2010 harvest tins contain 3.5oz (100g). At Glenburn’s recommended 2.5g in 200ml (7 fl-oz) water, each tin yields about 40 teacups at 43¢ per teacup.
This is OH-SO-GOOD! Like fabulously fantastically good.
The picture above does not deceive, there really are a bunch of golden tips in this tea. I know that sometimes with “tip” teas, there are relatively few tips. Not so here. This tea is loaded with golden tips. It’s beautiful!
This tea produces such a rich, delicious cup of tea. It is robust and possesses a beautiful malty tone. I can really taste the freshness with this tea, and it makes all the difference!
There is a very pleasing undercurrent of sweetness to this tea, it is caramel-y in flavor with a subtle burnt-sugar taste. That subtle burnt-sugar flavor emits a very delicate bitter note. This is a savory bitterness, not the “Oh no! I over-steeped the Assam” bitterness, and it lends a delightful depth of flavor to the cup.
It is a smooth Assam with a moderate amount of cleansing astringency at the tail. I don’t find this astringency to be particularly drying in nature, but, it imparts a clean feeling allowing this taster to enjoy the sweet aftertaste.
Tea connoisseurs take note: this Assam is exquisite. You really must try it!
Leaf Type: Black Darjeeling
Where to Buy: Culinary Teas
Bright, lively and full of flavor. Has a lovely muscatel character with a hint of nuttiness, an excellent 1st flush Darjeeling.
This is a very unusual Darjeeling. It is almost like a combination of Darjeeling and Assam teas! It has many of the characteristics I expect from a Darjeeling, but also some of the characteristics of a high quality Assam. Interesting… very interesting, indeed!
I can immediately sense the muscatel – I can smell the wine-like notes as well as taste them. But where this differs from a typical Darjeeling is that it isn’t as light-bodied. This tea is a little more solid and strong. Not quite as hefty as an Assam, but certainly not as sparkling as a Darjeeling. This seems to fall somewhere in the middle, making for a delightful medium-bodied tea.
There is a delicious undertone of malt to this tea, as well as a lovely honey-caramel sweetness. There is also a decidedly masculine note to this tea, almost “leathery” in presentation. There is also a toothsome quality to it – which is quite different than most Darjeeling teas that I’ve encountered. Like I said, this is really an unusual Darjeeling – unusual, but delicious.
This is a tea that I would recommend to the lovers of both Darjeeling and Assam. It makes for a great morning tea for the Darjeeling fan, and a great late afternoon tea for the Assam enthusiast. And for someone who just loves tea… you should really try this one!