Saturday, October 24, 2009
Tea Tasting Saturday #43 - Himalayan Tips TGFOP1
One thing I've observed in ordering some of these recent teas is that the exact tea named in Michael Harney's book may not always be available. This week, for instance, the tea I read about was Himalayan Tips SFTGFOP1 (Special Fancy Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) Second Flush. It wasn't available from Harney at the time I needed to order, so I got the Himalayan Tips TGFOP1 (Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) from Upton. I was kind of bummed to miss out on the "Special" and the "Fancy" until I remembered what Harney says in his intro to the material on Darjeelings: "Supreme, Special, Fancy, Tippy, Number 1, Golden and Orange Pekoe are all meant to suggest little more than best-quality teas." (Still, doesn't it make you feel smart to know what all those letters stand for?)
Category: British Legacy Black Tea
Purveyor: Upton Tea Imports
Dry leaf appearance: Tightly rolled leaves ranging from near black to dark brown, light brown, some greens and almost white.
Wet leaf appearance: Chopped green/brown with what looked like quite a few twigs floating around. Curious, I fished a few out of the bottom of the pot and realized they were simply leaves so tightly rolled they had never unfurled!
Steeping temperature and time: 1 teaspoon of tea, 190 degrees, 4 minutes. But that was wayyyyy too strong a brew for me, so I tried it again at 2-1/2 minutes. Much better.
Scent: The dry tea smelled like wood shavings. The steeped tea reminded me of steamed vegetables with a slightly sweet finish.
Color: Pumpkin orange!
Flavor: On just a few occasions this year, I've sampled a tea and recognized immediately that its too-strong taste was the tea maker's fault and not the tea's. Such was the case with this one. The first cup I made with the 4-minute steeping time tasted like double strength tea. The second, 2-1/2 minute steeping time was just about as strong as I like it. A nice traditional Darjeeling taste with a pleasant aftertaste, and only slight astringency.
Additional notes: Michael Harney says this tea is actually from Nepal, not Darjeeling, but it's made in the Darjeeling style. "Himalayan Tips comes from a promising new garden started just a few years ago called Jun Chiyabari," Harney says. "A small operation about thirty miles west of the border, Jun Chiyabari supplements its own leaf production with leaves from other local Nepalese tea farmers."
Next week's tea: Okayti