Jun Chiyabari FTGFOP1 First Flush (2012) from Rare Tea Republic

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Rare Tea Republic

Tea Description:

This easy-drinking selection has a minty aroma and a smooth, full flavor with soft notes of dry apricot in a light liquor. A sweet, balanced selection.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve got to tell you, this year’s first flush Darjeeling teas seem to be green in color!  Each of the three first flush Darjeeling teas I’ve tried from Rare Tea Republic, while technically categorized as black teas because they’ve been oxidized, all have leaves that have made me go back and check the website to make sure that I’m dealing with a black tea and not a green!

That’s neither a bad thing nor a good thing … I’m just so used to looking at a leaf and being able to determine what type of tea it is.  Admittedly, there were a few times I’ve judged incorrectly … perhaps more than a few.  But, I would say that I’m about 90% accurate with those judgment calls.  But with the three teas I’ve tasted from this past spring’s harvest offered by Rare Tea Republic:  the Phoomsering, the Wah, and this Jun Chiyabari, I’ve had to double check to make sure they’re black teas and not green!

But no matter … really, what it all comes down to is the taste, and taste (and quality!) wise the teas from Rare Tea Republic simply are the best!  This Jun Chiyabari is no exception.  It is so deliciously flavorful, with interesting notes of cream as well as a crisp, cooling sensation that is quite mint-ish.  I do taste the sweet, dried apricot flavor to this as well – and it’s quite a lovely contrast to the zesty, herbaceous mint-like tone.

What also sets it apart from other Darjeeling-esque teas is that it doesn’t have the same level of astringency that I often experience with a Darjeeling.  The finish is dry and sweet (like a fine wine) but, it isn’t overly astringent.  The delivery is smooth from start to finish, providing lovely, sweet fruit tones that I am finding irresistible.

The lovely lightness to this cup makes it a delightful choice to serve in the afternoon, when you’re looking for a little pick-me-up but nothing too heavy or assertive.  That’s not to say that this isn’t packed with flavor – it is!  But it is such a creamy, smooth kind of flavor.

Really quite wonderful!  The kind of tea you’ll want to spend time with – often!

Jun Chiyabari Himalayan Evergreen from Rare Tea Republic

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy: Rare Tea Republic

Product Description:

Beautifully crafted leaves and well-balanced flavor speak to Jun Chiyabari’s mastery of the art of tea making. This splendid selection, grown ecologically in Nepal’s Dhankuta district, is a tea with a rich, buttery aroma, a smooth mouth-feel and a sweet, clean flavor reminiscent of asparagus and lemon. Plucking date: May 15, 2011.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is a fantastic green tea.

The above description is pretty spot-on.  I can taste the notes of asparagus and lemon, in fact, that is exactly what I tasted when I first took a sip, before even reading the description.  It reminded me of asparagus that had been steamed with thin slices of lemon on top; the lemon slowly infusing into the asparagus as it becomes tender from the heat. I can even taste a hint of butter in there.  YUM! 

The mouthfeel is light and silky soft, and there is just a hint of astringency at the tail that cleans the palate, and imparts a tangy note that further emphasizes the aforementioned lemon-y notes.

Overall, this tea tastes incredibly fresh and light.  It’s an invigorating kind of tea, one that is an absolute pleasure to sip.  Very rich in flavor and texture, but at the same time, it has such a crisp, uplifting kind of feeling to it.

This is an absolutely wonderful green tea – highly recommended!