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Tea from Nepal
Many people have heard of or tried a Darjeeling tea. In fact they are highly prized and famous teas, affectionately referred to as the champagne of the Himalayas in the tea world. But have you ever tried a tea from Nepal?
Nestled in the heart of the Himalayas with India to the South and China to the North, Nepal experiences weather conditions close to those in Darjeeling, and a similar topography too. Meaning they can produce teas comparable in flavour, quality and aromatics to Darjeeling tea.
Nepal’s Tea Industry
While Darjeeling’s tea industry flourished due to investment from outside sources and interest in export, Nepal’s tea production remained much smaller, even though planting began around the same time in the late 1800’s early 1900’s.
Nepal’s tea growing began with the gift of the gift of camellia sinensis tea bushes from a Chinese Emperor. However tea production didn’t increase until the East India Trading Company (who had colonised areas across the border in India) established the Ilam Tea Estate. And 2 years later a second tea garden followed. Tea production remained on a small scale and tea from Nepal was used to bolster crops from Darjeeling when yield was low.
In the last couple of decades we have seen an increase in investment in the Nepalese tea industry. The area of tea plants are grown in has increased five fold and the future is extremely promising!
Today the tea produced is mostly Black tea but some fantastic Green teas come from there too. Still largely growing in domestic quantities we are seeing an increase in the scale and commercial viability of Nepali teas.
Weather, Seasons & Flavour
In Nepal some tea growers believe that in the morning and evening Shiva blows a gentle breeze down from the mountain tops and blesses the tea plants with their outstanding flavour and quality. Indeed they are blessed with soaring mountain peaks and cool weather ideal for producing beautiful cups of tea.
There are 3 tea harvesting seasons in Nepal and the weather during each affects the flavour greatly. The 3 seasons for picking are
April – this is when the “First Flush” teas are picked. They are delicate and floral in colour and taste.
May to June – this is when the “Second Flush” teas are picked. They make a more full bodied mature cup of tea.
July to September – this is when the monsoon rains arrive. Teas harvested in this time period are fuller and darker in flavour but with less nuances.
In winter the tea plants go into hibernation until the Spring comes back.
Introduction to our Nepali Teas
Himshikhar is a new tea from Nepal amongst our black tea selection, and we are so pleased to be able to share it with you. Organically grown in the foothills of the Himalayas these beautifully worked leaves offer floral notes and hints of violet on the nose. When brewed they create a liquor which is bright and delicate. We would highly recommend giving this a try!
This is a truly exquisite black tea grown on a family run tea garden, established in 2000. The Jun Chiyabari tea garden not only takes great care of their tea plants, but also of their workers and the surrounding community. They fairly employ local women and supply local schools with equipment needed to provide an education for the children.
The leaves of this particular tea have been hand rolled expertly. The brown and silvery leaves have so much flavour in them they can be steeped several times. With each infusion they unfurl to reveal their fullness, turning a rusty red colour. The liquor they exude is both flavoursome and delicate, a black tea with zero astringency.
A green tea from the Guranse tea garden, located in the Dhankuta Hills of Eastern Nepal. This is a high grown fresh and aromatic Green tea, the liquor has a smooth feel with grassy notes and plenty of other notes which captivate the tastebuds. A very enjoyable tea, and a nice one to try if you enjoy Chinese and Japanese green teas but would like to try something different.
So there we have a little introduction to our carefully selected Nepalese teas, what are you waiting for? There’s a whole world of teas waiting to be explored and enjoyed, get the kettle on!