May 7, 2010

Himalayan Jun Chiyabari

 This is a tea I just had to have. You know the ones you see online somewhere and the vendors description sounds amazing? Or for whatever reason it just grabs your attention. This is one of Upton's new offerings. Upton's has several new first flush Darjeeling tea's that sound very promising and I almost grabbed one of those but instead I opted for the Himalayan Jun Chiyabari Estate GHRHT. Golden Hand Rolled Himalayan Tips. Upton's description is pretty much on target. It is very similar to a Bai Hao Oolong but with a few curves. Opening the bag creates an assault on the senses, extremely pungent with the aromas of cocoa, stone fruits, lemon and floral nuances. But the curve ball with this tea is the aroma of a very light and clean rosemary. I know, rosemary? Yep! And you know what? It matches this tea perfectly. The smell of cocoa and fruit are the dominant smells and flavors but the floral, lemon and rosemary form a perfect alliance in balancing the heavier flavors. This tea isn't cheap, A 140 gm. bag will set you back $54.72

I wasn't sure how to approach brewing this tea, would it withstand gong fu? Or would it be better suited to the British style? Well, after experimenting Ive come to the conclusion that you can gong fu this tea but your not going to get multiple infusions, about four, maybe five steeping's is as far as it's going to go. And it's better with extended infusion times, starting at a minute for the first, 1&1/2, then 2 minutes. I used a small 125 ml. yixing, 5&1/2 gms. of leaf, boiling water. I think the most impressive thing about this tea is the aroma, it is incredibly strong, you can smell the teapot from across the room. A nice little treat for a change of pace. As much as I love my sheng and greens Ive gotta have something a little different every now and the
Just take a gander at those leaves, almost makes me want to just eat them. The tea brews up a cup with brilliant amber clarity. It's a medium bodied tea and just barely sweet enough to balance it's astringency.  By the way, that cup is one of Petr's. The "Bark Cup" is a little camera shy, I like them because they hold the entire pot of tea, they hold heat very well and they just feel right when holding them. It's a gorgeous set of cups but not easy to photograph. It seems my choices are I can get a good clear shot of the cups bark texture but with the whitish rim glaring. Or the rim clean and clear but the bark texture looking muddy. One of these days I'll read my camera's owners manual.


  1. This is interesting...I notice that Upton discontinued the only tea they used to carry from Jun Chiyabari estate, their TM83 (SFTGFOP1)...that tea was much more moderately priced. I have yet to try any tea from that estate.

    In general though, I have had outstanding experiences with Upton's Himalayan teas (whether Darjeeling or from Nepal or other areas)...their catalog selection is so huge yet the teas really do have such diversity in aroma and overall qualities to justify carrying such a large selection.

  2. You've made yet another tea worth trying, although in these days and times, cost prohibitive.

    I especially enjoy your layout of your posts. cups etc.

    Thanks and Cheers!

  3. Hi Alex, I really think that this is a great tea. It's so extremely pungent, but not overwhelming. It's a tea you should try. Upton's....Ive been buying from them for years and years. Nobody can beat thier selection. Assam's and Darjeeling's are Upton's forte but they have a damned good selection of just about everything, except puerh, don't buy your puerh from Upton's.

  4. Thanks Coffee Messiah, you can get a smaller qty. than what I used as an example. I guarantee that you won't get any further than opening the bag and you will realize how aromatic this tea is.

  5. I had one from last year (DJ6 if i remember well ?). I enjoyed it a lot !

    The J9 from spring 2010 i can find here is moderately priced, at 18€/100gm

  6. Education comes in many forms... while looking at random blogs I fell upon yours and had to research to learn more.

    Great post, enlightening, and now I have a much better appreciation for my teas.

    Thank you,

  7. Hi Jerry, As you already found out for yourself is that "Gong Fu" as applied to tea brewing means that we use a very small teapot, large qty. of tea leaves with very brief infusion times. With each additional infusion the tea can reveal different aspects of it's flavors and aroma's. Some tea's can be re-brewed many, many times, that is (if) you find a good one.