We are thrilled to offer this special production of the most exquisite Nepal tea from late autumn 2019. This tea is one that has only been manufactured for a few years. We have tasted a sample of it every time that it has been offered, and have been amazed at the incredible flavor profile and interesting differences that have shown among the samples, which have come from either the spring or autumn harvests, depending on the year. (This tea is only produced when all conditions are perfect, so it is not necessarily manufactured in both ‘seasons’ of every year – or even every year). We are quite honored to be able to source this limited-production tea, and offer it to Tea Trekker’s tea enthusiasts. Here at Tea Trekker we trust that you will respond to it as emphatically as we have.
This gorgeous Nepal black tea is from the Jun Chiyabari Tea Garden, a small, specialty, single estate located in the Himalayan hills of mid-eastern Nepal. Jun Chiyabari’s tea gardens are located at 6,000 to 6,500 feet in the ‘hills’ around Hile, an historic 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.
This season, our Nepal High Himalaya Hand-Rolled Crème de la Crème is a late-Autumn-pluck tea, which means it is from the harvest season that occurs in Oct. In Nepal, this short season of tea harvest often produces a small but really delicious black tea – the flavor is rich and distinctive and smooth, and not at all astringent. The fresh leaf is medium-large and juicy, and is perfect for hand-rolling the leaf throughout the processing. This year’s production has nuances of toasted brioche and brisk fruitiness in its aroma. The flavor is appealing and broad – everything from a yeasty toasti-ness to a plummy raisin, cherry-pip clean brightness. Being an ‘autumnal’, the leaf has a richness and developed flavor profile that separates it from the more traditional spring harvested leaf. The depth of flavor due to its being an autumnal is intoxicating.
The tea’s liquor is a stunning deep amber that is quite unlike any other tea, except a few really exquisite strip-style oolongs. The color of both the dry and the wet leaf is a rich cordovan; and it really ‘shines’ after re-hydration.
The over-all flavor is in between the flavor profile that develops in our High Himalaya Hand-Rolled Tips black tea from its early-Spring harvest (in which case the tea is lighter) and in our very popular Everest Dark Heart which is from a significantly later Summer harvest, in which case the tea is more soft and round and full-bodied, having been plucked from large, mature, full-flavored leaf that has deep flavor. There is something special about the finesse and beautiful leaf structure that a mid-late Spring or mid-late Autumnal pluck shows. Both of these teas also benefit from a short ‘rest’, and also tend to age well, so there should be no hurry to drink them up.
We particularly like this group teas (and intentionally hold them when we can) in order to enjoy them when they are from six months post-harvest to about two years post-harvest date. The micro climate of the garden in Nepal has such a unique terroir that when young and freshly-manufactured, the two teas mentioned above (and some Nepal oolongs as well) tend to have a rough side that needs to calm down and mellow in order to show their best flavor. (Not unlike many French-vinified wines…) This Crème de la Crème will also age very nicely, but it does not start out with the astringent ‘edge’; it is ready to drink now.
The good proportion of silver-colored tip is quite unique and shows how well-fired this leaf was during the finishing phase of manufacture. All-in-all, this is a beautifully-made tea that does not challenge the palate but leaves it completely satisfied with layers of flavor that linger well after the tea is all consumed. Again, this is not a variation on either the hand-rolled Himalaya black tea that we regularly have, or the Dark Heart, but is a differently elegant tea than either, with a smaller, finer leaf. The depth of flavor in this leaf is amazing, and it is absolutely gorgeous to observe when rehydrated.
This tea is comprised of medium-large, well-shaped leaf. The tea is as beautiful to look at as it is delicious to drink. The leaf is perfectly-formed, quite open, plump, and lofty. As the garden’s tea director says: “ a character that is bright & warm, nutty & fruity, all in a deliciously complex mix of aroma and taste; a true delight to the senses. Hand-rolling is a laborious and time consuming task that requires patience, a tender touch, and a passion for creation from the person rolling the leaves to ensure that everything is perfect. Only women are selected for this delicate task.”
This is why we chose for its name: High Himalaya Hand-Rolled Crème de la Crème!
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