We work directly with Jun Chiyabari Tea Garden for the teas that we offer from their gardens each year. This tea really impressed us with its brisk flavor and fresh, exuberant aroma. One sip and we were on the phone placing the order.
Is this tea expensive? Yes. Is it worth the price? Yes, again. In fact, we like it so much that we purchased as much of the entire batch as we could, allowing for a few kilos that went to a fine tea shop in Europe! Because this leaf can be re-steeped 2-4 times, it is actually less expensive to drink than many other teas.
This tea has it all – skillful plucking, careful manufacture and an impressive and very long-lasting taste and aroma in the cup. It represents a new trend for some tea gardens, which is to focus on high-end, exclusive micro batches of tea. The quality of leaf in early spring is very high and just right to turn young, juicy leaf with an abundance of flavor and vigorous aroma into delicious tea that deserves to be maintained as a separate ‘lot’ and sold as such.
Production of teas such as this occurs during the short time between bud break and when the main harvest begins. So the window of time for these early spring teas is very short and the quantities made are very small.
The color of this tea is buff/stone/green and on first glance, one might assume that this is an early spring green tea. But this batch of fresh leaf was processed in the tea factory into a white tea. For those unfamiliar with white tea, the processing begins with a withering step, either inside or outside, that introduces a small amount of oxidation to the leaf. The oxidation tempers the astringency of the fresh leaf and, in this case, gives the tea a smooth, floral style with a slight taste of a mild black tea.
Our Nepal Himalaya White Moon Dance has very high fragrance of melons, tropical fruits and assorted florals. In the cup the tea is buttery with a very rich mouth feel. The tea has a core flavor from the oxidation which adds definition and structure – i.e. long-lasting flavor and aroma throughout multiple steepings. We often find that high fragrance teas do not correlate to abundant flavor in the cup, but that is not the case with this tea. The high fragrance is just an introduction to the bountiful flavor that follows in the cup.
You will find that this tea has a flexible steeping time – and will yield more re-steepings than most white tea. Himalaya White Moon Dance will re-steep numerous times (short steeps) or you can leave the leaf in the water for a long time and enjoy an incredibly rich, deeply-flavored tea (perfect for iced tea). It is a very user-friendly tea that will delight the eye, the nose, and the palate.
Jun Chiyabari Tea Garden is a small & exclusive single estate tea garden located in the Himalayan hills of mid-eastern Nepal. These tea gardens are located at 6,000 to 6,500 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.
As the garden’s tea director says: “Hand-rolling is a laborious and time consuming task that requires patience, tender touch and a passion for creation from the person rolling the leaves to ensure that everything is perfect. This is why only women are selected for this delicate task”.
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