Country of Origin: Nepal
Leaf Appearance: small, dark with golden tips
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
I was first introduced to this tea by Sebastian Beckwith of In Pursuit of Tea. He invited me to their office for tea as a thank you for reviewing his book, A Little Tea Book. We drank quite a few teas that day but the Himalayan Black was one that I really enjoyed. I was generously given a sample to bring home and I just knew that I had to share it here on the blog. It is a summer harvest from Jun Chiyabari, one of my favorite Nepalese tea producers. The name means “Moonlit Tea Garden” in Nepali. Their use of Taiwanese and Japanese processing methods really makes the orthodox teas that they make stand out.
The dry leaves were dark and somewhat curled with scattered golden tips. The aroma was malty with a distinct note of fruity tobacco. I really enjoy this tea when brewed in a more western fashion but gaiwans are always my go-to. The tea really shines when you can concentrate the aromas. In comparison to nearby Darjeeling, I tend to prefer Nepalese teas when prepared this way. I’m not sure why that is but the subtle differences in terroir and processing methods definitely have something to do with it.
Himalayan Black brewed up a deep reddish-brown. The taste was earthy and sweet with chocolaty notes and a hint of rose. Tannins were present but not overwhelmingly so, making for a fairly smooth cup of tea. The fruitiness that I picked up in the dry leaf came through as a darker sweetness in later infusions. I couldn’t quite peg it down to raisins, dates, or figs but it was delicious! If I didn’t know any better, I would have guessed that it was from Yunnan.
This tea is currently sold out but you can sign up to be notified of when it comes back. It will be well worth the wait!
Have you tried Himalayan Black? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!