NEPAL: JUN CHIYABARI, FIRST FLUSH
This is the first time I wrote in my journal, "MUST BUY," during this tasting.
Apparently, there is a wide swatch of Nepal in which the terroir-- the "placeness"-- is quite similar to Darjeeling. The conditions are very alike: 4000 to 5000 foot elevation, and so on. In Nepal, though, the teas are grown on very small tea farms (rather than Darjeeling, where the estates are large). This allows the teas to have a wide variety of preparation styles. Also, I've learned elsewhere, because the farms are so small, the Nepalese tend to have more organic growing practices.
(REVIEW WAS BROKEN HERE FOR TIME, AND RESTARTED... HERE)
I want to finish reviewing the Jun Chiyabari tea from Nepal, because it was amazing.
When I describe it, it sounds like any other high-end Darjeeling: the color of the cup is a transparent golden liquor; the flavor is grapey (that Muscatel everyone jaws about, apparently); it's a bit astringent, or dry, to the tongue....
But the response I wrote was, "Mm, mm, mm," and then put a big star next to it in my book, with a "BUY" on the page, with arrows pointing at it.
I think the thing that sets it apart is the scent. When I'm drinking, my sense of smell is very strongly engaged. But I've always been like this. I have an herb garden that I cook from occasionally, but mainly I like to rub the leaves and smell them. When I go to the botanic garden, I have to touch, and smell, and taste all the leaves in the food garden. And gross smells really bother me.
So a tea like this is just a feast for my nose as well as my mouth. I only hope, when i get it home, that I'll be able to recreate or improve on this experience.
Well, that's enough shilling for Tea Gschwendner on this tea. On to the next one!