Saturday Morning Tea

This morning I’m enjoying another tea from the Jun Chiyabari estate in Nepal. Called Himalayan Oolong, it reminds me very much of a tea I reviewed about a year ago in this post.

The leaves look very much like an Oolong tea, large and rolled, yet there are some differences in the taste, creating a tea, in my opinion, whose flavor notes are a melding of Oolong and Darjeeling. As I said in a previous post, their Himalayan Oolongs are created with a secret process resulting in a black tea with the characteristics of a Silvertip Oolong tea. True Silvertip Oolong teas come from Taiwan (Formosa).

The dry leaf gave off a sweet cookie aroma as I spooned the leaves into my glass teapot. Since they’re so huge, I used 2 teaspoons per cup. I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes at a water temperature of approximately 185 degrees F. Based on my experience several weeks ago, I’m trying a longer steeping time initially. After steeping, I detected a light floral aroma in the wet leaf, a faint whisper of a green Oolong’s (like Spring Dragon) floral characteristic.

As you can see, the tea liquor is a lighter amber color than the Himalayan Oolong I reviewed last year. It’s also lighter-bodied in the cup. The flavor is rich and fruity and quite smooth. I might try steeping for 5 minutes at the lower temp and see what happens.

Isn’t it fun to experiment with your tea and see what happens? Some wonderful surprises and some….well…I guess that didn’t work. But then you know and you go on from there.

Some people like to stick with a tea and try different steeping times until the flavor suits them and others don’t want to be bothered with the “fuss”. One’s not right and one’s not wrong. They’re just different ways of approaching something. I think you can tell which way I am. Which way are you?

“It is the soul’s duty to be loyal to its own desires.  It must abandon itself to its master passion.”  ~Rebecca West

Saturday Morning Tea

In my part of the world, nature is just bursting with new growth and bird song and I am eagerly drinking it in with all of my senses.

Welcome May! I’ve dreamed about you all winter long…

With my morning cup, I am once again visiting the Nepal Jun Chiyabari tea estate, today with their Imperial Black. I tell their story here.

As I gaze upon the large, full leaves, I think that imperial is a perfect name for this majestic leaf.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in boiling point (212 F) water.

A honeyed aroma rising from my glass teapot reminds me of a dark Oolong tea.

Wow, that is one big leaf!

This tea is processed as a black tea but its enormous leaf, its aroma and its flavor notes remind me of an Oolong tea. Not the tea liquor though, a gorgeous glowing whisky color, reminiscent of a rich second flush Darjeeling.

The cup is quite smooth with notes of chestnut and dark honey up front. Subtle hints of spice and a whisper of cocoa linger into the finish.

I’m really enjoying this tea’s unique flavor which reminds me of a dark Oolong with some hints of a China black tea. Quite yummy!

Enjoy your weekend and a warm and happy Mother’s Day to all you Moms out there! Thanks Mom for all of the wonderful things you do.

“Let all thy joys be as the month of May.”  ~Francis Quarles

Unless otherwise noted, all text and photos are the property of Karen Park Art and Tea, copyright 2007-2011. Please do not “lift” any of my photographs or blog posts for use on your blog or website. Thank you so much for your respect and kind attention.

Saturday Morning Tea

A clear, bright day dawned today with the promise of warmer temps and a long walk on the bike path for this tea lover. Only a thin, wet layer of snow remains as the only trace of yesterday’s April Fool’s Day snowfall. I bet it’ll be all melted away by day’s end.

This morning’s tea is another selection from the Nepal Jun Chiyabari estate called Pine. Back in February, I reviewed their Pouchong Jade.

Whereas the Jade is a Pouchong tea, meaning a slightly oxidized green tea, this Pine is processed as a true green tea, meaning no oxidation of the leaf at all.

I steeped the beautiful spring green leaf for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water. The aroma arising from my glass teapot is light and vegetal.

The liquor is the color of morning sunshine. Its flavor is light and smooth with only a vegetal whisper. A sweetness lingers in my mouth with each sip from my teabowl.

With April’s arrival and, hopefully, some warmth here in New England, I’m beginning to think of teas that would be great iced and this is surely one of them!

Perhaps you’ve noticed that I’m now marking my photos with a copyright symbol. I think the reason that I’ve never done that before is because I didn’t want to take away from the photo’s appearance. However, I’ve lately discovered that a website is lifting my blog posts on a regular basis and will not stop even though I’ve sent them a letter asking them to do so. I also saw that someone lifted one of my photos to use as their Facebook avatar. In that case, if the person had asked me first, I probably would’ve said yes but they never asked. I find this all very discouraging and have even considered just giving up my blog and bowing away from having an internet presence altogether. However, what’s really stopped me from doing so is that I so enjoy sharing my love of tea with you all. And also my art, of course. So, I will move forward and not let these thieves stop me from doing something I love. Thanks for being there, my dear tea friends.

“April, the Angel of the Months.” ~Vita Sackville-West

Unless otherwise noted, all text and photos are the property of Art and Tea at, copyright 2007-2011.

Saturday Morning Tea

As I sit here and sip my tea, I can feel my whole house shake from the strength of the wind outside. It’s a bit unnerving. We’re experiencing an incredible drop in temps from almost 60 yesterday to the 20s later on this afternoon. The winds are sweeping in a big change. What can I say? It’s late winter here in New England…..

On to my tea…. a lovely Pouchong style tea from the Jun Chiyabari estate in Nepal, called Jun Chiyabari Jade. A Pouchong tea is a very lightly oxidized green tea. Because of the oxidation, some consider it an Oolong tea. I’d like to think of it as being in its very own category, a very unique and distinct tea. The word “pouchong” means “the wrapped kind”, referring to the ancient practice of wrapping the leaves as they were drying.

Back in 2000, brothers Lochan and Bachan Gyawali realized their dream of starting their own tea garden/company and Jun Chiyabari, meaning “moon tea garden”, was born. I wrote about their amazing story here.

A recent article in the Nepali Times wrote about their commitment to empowering women in the tea business. Nearly 80% of their over 230 work force is women.

This is a great photo from the article, showing the women gathered round sorting the tea leaves. A circle of women. Very powerful.

They do a great job. Look at the beauty of that intact tea leaf.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water. The aroma is sweetly floral, like a lightly oxidized Jade Oolong.

The golden liquor is amazingly sweet, almost as if I had added sugar to my tea. Hints of melon and apricot whisper in the flavor.

I think they’re producing some great teas out of that tea garden. This tea was delicious. And I say “was” because my cup is now empty.

Time to go make another pot!

“You must have a room or a certain hour of the day or so where you do not know what was in the morning paper…a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are, and what you might be…At first you may find nothing’s happening….But if you have a sacred place and use it, take advantage of it, something will happen.” ~Joseph Campbell

Saturday Morning Tea

I awoke this morning to rumbles of thunder and teeming rain that have continued on into the morning. A sudden cool breeze lifts my curtains from the windows revealing sharp flashes of lightning that dance across a low sky filled with bruised clouds. As I wrap myself in a warm robe,  I reach for a black tea but not a typical black tea. It is a black tea that actually tastes like an Oolong tea.

From the Jun Chiyabari estate in Nepal, its leaf designation is one that I have never seen before, GHRHT. Meaning Golden Hand Rolled Himalayan Tips, the picking is of only the first two leaves and a bud from the end of the stems, the tender new growth. The tea is created from a secret process that results in a black tea with the characteristics of a fine Silvertip Oolong tea.

Since the tea is grown in the Himalayan mountains in the same part of the world as Indian Darjeeling tea, I steep the leaves for 3 minutes in boiling point water.

As I lift the steeped leaves from my teapot, a rich, fruity aroma greets me. Mmmm…

The wet leaves reveal whole intact leaf in various stages of unfurling from the hand rolling that was done during their processing.

The deep amber liquor is quite sweet with notes of apricot and peach and a whisper of rosemary in the finish. A colleague of mine, with a very fine palate for tea tasting, has also detected fennel notes in her cup.

For this special tea, I bring out my teamug purchased in Arroyo Seco, NM last fall. You can see the fingertip imprints of the potter on the side of the mug from when they dipped the mug in glaze. That is my favorite part of this beautiful russet and charcoal teamug.

While I had originally thought that I’d be able to work on removing a bush stump from my garden today and prepare the soil with some loam for planting, it looks like it’s going to be an indoor day. Oh dear, I guess I’ll just have to play in my studio then!

Happy Mother’s Day!

“Women need solitude in order to find the true essence of themselves: that firm strand which will be the indispensable center of a whole web of human relationships.”

~Anne Morrow Lindbergh