It really feels like we’re in the full swing of springtime, even in Maine where the cold can linger through the later part of the season. Some days have even felt like summer with temperatures surpassing 80° F. Each year when this time comes around I find great pleasure in drinking the new spring harvests of tea and seeing how they turn out. I especially enjoy drinking green tea when the weather is fitting for these light and refreshing teas.
Today I’m writing about a 2018 spring harvest green tea from the Jun Chiyabari tea garden in Nepal; this tea is called Himalayan Spring. My friend Aaron from Kora Tea and Crafts sourced the tea for me. He sells nice teas from Jun Chiyabari as well as some Nepalese arts and crafts. Jun Chiyabari only sells to people who visit their office and choose not to sell online. For this reason their teas can be somewhat difficult to come by, so I’m grateful to Aaron for helping facilitate my tea addiction!
The dry leaves look quite nice as I weigh the tea for my session. There are some very green leaves mixed between silver buds. These buds have really cool looking hairs all over them. Glancing quickly I imagine the picking grade was one bud: one leaf. It might be one bud: two leaves, but it seems like a bud-heavy blend.
Here are the brewing parameters for my session with this tea.
Weight of Dry Leaves: 6.5 grams
Size of Brewing Vessel: 200 ml
Water Temperature: 75° C – 85° C (cooled in glass pitcher)
Infusion Time: 1st infusion for about 10 seconds, then add about 10-15 seconds per brew.
Aroma: The aroma of the Himalayan Spring was mostly grassy and herbaceous. The general smell was somewhat similar to that of Darjeeling 1st flush teas. After being brewed the leaves gave off a floral quality similar to the aroma of lilacs. The aroma of this tea is complex and multi-layered.
1st Infusion (10 seconds): The first infusion was light, crisp, and aromatic. I was able to identify the herbaceous qualities that I was experiencing as somewhat similar to sage and/or rosemary. The tea also had the somewhat citric flavor of lemon which was an interesting surprise. Normally when I experience citric qualities in a tea they remind me of oranges, but this tea was quite different with its lemon or lemongrass like flavors.
4th Infusion (45 seconds): By the fourth infusion the tea had opened up and become more complex. I enjoy how well balanced it is. On the sweet side there was a crisp flavor somewhat like that of green apples, but this was counter balanced by a bit of lemon-like sourness. The floral and herbaceous qualities also remained. This is a tough tea to describe, but I believe a general and appropriate phrase would be multi-layered.
7th Infusion (1.5 minutes): By the seventh infusion the complexity started to wind down. At this point in the session the tea was mostly floral with a jasmine or lilac like quality. I don’t normally like to brew green teas in the gong fu style, but I thought that this tea worked very well with this style of brewing. I was surprised at what was still going on in the flavor and aroma at the end of the session and by the tea’s ability to give off this crisp quality over many infusions.