Nepali Tea Traders
Popular Teas from Nepali Tea TradersSee All 20 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
Tea of the morning here. This is a darker style oolong and the flavor is very much like that of a second flush darjeeling. I’m getting a lot of fruitiness in addition to some “woody” type flavors. There’s a slight astringency in the finish which I am not totally loving but would be good with a bit of sweetener. It’s ok but not anything I would feel the need to keep around on a permanent basis. Used the filtered brita water and my Adagio kettle which was very enjoyable :)
My first Nepali Tea Traders courtesy of TeaBrat! Yay! I have been wanting to sample some of the NTT stuff for awhile now and this one does not disappoint. Smooth and reminiscent of a darjeeling without most of the dryness. Subtle and mellow – this is a perfect wrap up to this morning’s cookie & candy marathon. Finally sitting down with a nice cup is wonderful. :)
Yesterday morning was cinnamon cookies & chocolate covered peanut butter cookies, truffles, Mexican wedding cookies and fudge with hickory nuts and this morning was pumpkin caramels with pepitas, molasses cookies and sugared bread twists as well as a cherry coconut cheesecake dessert for tonight! Hey, if the oven is on, may as well use it, right? :) Only thing left before tomorrow morning is to frost the cranberry shortbread cookies and thaw the other cookies that have been waiting in the freezer till I got everything else done. Then get them all put on trays and ready to take to work with me & with the husband tomorrow.
Oh, as this tea cools I’m finding maybe a bit of light smokiness hiding in there? And if I swish it around in my mouth, the dryness becomes more pronounced. Thanks, TeaBrat!
I did not sleep well last night and when I woke up this morning I wanted something basic and soothing. This is a nice medium bodied tea that’s really flavorful… good with soymilk or also good without it, see previous notes if interested. I hope I survive the day!
I tried this tea once before when Nepali Tea Traders had an evening tasting when the tea’s were introduced at Happy Lucky’s Tea House.
It was a stormy Winter evening (snow!) but nearly 50 people braved the cold for a chance to taste these special tea’s!
The farm that produces this tea is in the Southeastern part of Nepal, closer to Darjeeling (India). During times of unrest, it wasn’t uncommon for Nepalese tea to end up over the border in Darjeeling sold for very little, mixed with other tea and sold at a high price as Darjeeling Tea.
The comments about Nepalese tea tasting like Darjeelings tea’s is in some ways understandable. I find the references to Chinese tea just as true. It seems like the ‘tea trail’ from China and all points between… were channeled to Nepalese tea.
Himalayan Gold is a proper name for this shimmering, topaz tea. It is sweet, clover honey…thick like fruit leather.
A black tea without muscatel, lush in the mouth grain honey… smooth and rich.
I noticed citrus orange which isn’t very distinct but did define the floral note in the honey aroma.
None of the above matters more than the experience. The luxury of the tea.
My mind and body feel swept up into the wind drifts of tea farms tucked in warm valleys along stony mountain paths. This is something I see where I live also, and explains why many Nepalese live in the familiar high altitudes of Colorado, refugees from recent wars. I imagine the spirit of the tea in the wind wrapping around me with golden arms, candlelight that does not burn. I know this. It isn’t man-made.
The tea warms my whole body, so sweet that I would rest on that gentle nectar satisfied.
Of all the Nepali Tea’s, this is truly Golden. This one whips the wind in the flags up on the high mountain.
All of us have taste memories that influence our tea tasting…a reference point.
Almost 10 years ago, I worked part-time at Fortino’s Winery in Gilroy, California. I wanted to learn more about my dad’s life growing up in the Napa Valley. He trimmed grapevines as a boy at now famous vineyards in the days when horse and cart still moved between the rows of ripening fruit. My cousin Norma sells her grapes to that same vineyard (Beaulieu Vineyard).
When I traveled around Northern/Central California (Santa Barbara to Eureka and inland to Murphys) I would take an empty case (or two) to fill with wines along the route. (All wineries give discounts to any winery employees from other wineries!)
In some ways, the adventures were a bit like tea tasting.
Many wineries were small barns where I would be standing with the winemaker and nobody else.
The winemaker would pour a more average wine to check my reaction. If I met approval, the better wines would appear and the tasting continued with animated discussion and enjoyment.
We would discuss levels of flavor, what we tasted, the feeling in the mouth. Just as I do with tea.
Now, the first time I tasted Muscat wine was in Murphy’s…up in Calaveras County (Sierra Foothills) where Mark Twain wrote about the ‘jumping frogs’. The area is dotted with excellent wineries and a few have tasting rooms set up on the main street which are restored buildings from the Gold Rush days.
Stevenot Winery had a small brick storefront with bare wide-board floors and plain plank bar at the far end of the room. The high ceiling and tall windows let in muted light. On the bar were several glass vases filled with daffodils (the town plants them down the sides of the roads in the Spring). It was rustic and lovely.
I decided to try their expensive Muscat wine. Don’t know why. (My first Muscat ever.)
It was a revelation. The wine rolled over my palate like warm silk, more floral than raisin. I felt illumined, like a candle had been lit inside my body, not warm but golden. It was wonderful!
When I drink any tea that has a muscat flavor, I think of this first muscat wine (and I’m glad it was such a grand one).
My memory formed with this experience.
Brewed Western Style with more leaf than recommended. (1TB-16oz 3min)
The fragrance of the tea was fat and floral! Some tea’s flirt with your nose, this one fills it with beautiful, sweet candied white muscat perfume!
Don’t know why, but I took a gulp…an improper in public one to gorge my mouth with tea (I normally slurp..which is proper).
The flavor was lightly sweet, pink peppercorn with fresh muscat grape (the stage where they’re white with a pink blush and very small). Right on the finish, I tasted cashew.
It was a bountiful gulp!
Next I properly slurped the tea removing the cup from the vacinity of my face sans the scent. This to allow a separation of the savory from the sweet muscat flavor. (Sometimes, this works.)
I slurped again, bringing the cup close under my nose, inhaling
the sweet floral scent. The taste was more pronounced and the awareness of peppercorn was stronger.
Moving the cup around and playing with slurping and gulping…or changing the size of a cup…can make a difference in how the tea tastes.
This tea is smooth, gentle muscat with a beautiful aroma and one that I recommend.
The tea’s from Nepali Tea are a pleasure for me to drink and review. I respect their support of the farmers in Nepal that they work with directly and I know the staff personally.
All proceeds from tea sales go to support the farmers.
Tea of the afternoon – what I really need is a nap but I’m afraid I won’t be sleeping for a while.
This tea is intriguing. It’s very aromatic and as I was holding the cup up to my nose I was trying to place the smell. It reminds me a bit of pastries baking but it’s also… floral.
The flavor is interesting as well, there is something sweet and bready about it, but also malty and fruity. Geoffrey mentioned grape and I can taste some of that as well. When I first sipped this I thought it was a bit on the bitter side, but as the cup cools down its definitely calmed down a bit.
Reminds me a bit of a Chinese Yunnan crossed with a SF Darjeeling. I am enjoying it but I think I accidentally made my leaf to water ratio too strong by dumping in more tea than I needed. I think I’ll wait to give this a rating until I’ve tried it again.
I am convinced I will like any tea from Sandakphu, there is something about them that has always captivated me (and continues to do so).
I hope I am not tempting fate by trying this tea in the evening time (it’s 7:23 here) but I wanted to stay awake to do laundry and some other things. Keep your fingers crossed for me….
This is a lovely hand rolled tea that is visually nice to look at. I decided to go for the 3 minute steep at approximately 180F (my guesstimate).
Flavorwise, this reminds me a lot of a Chinese green tea with savory, vegetal artichoke type flavors, like a chun mee or something of that nature. There is a definite sweetness in the finish too which is really nice. Their website says “grassy” which I am not really getting at all. Something about this seems very relaxing and I can definitely see how this would be a good everyday drinking type of tea (if not for the price).
I will definitely consider buying a large size of this at some point to keep around – on the shopping list it goes. So far everything from NTT has been good in my opinion.
Tea of the morning here, another sample to try from Nepali Tea Traders.
Definitely reminiscent of a darjeeling in terms of aroma and appearance. A light amber cup which is very smooth and balanced. No astringency or bitter flavors to be found anywhere. The predominate flavors seem to be nuttiness and a light muscatel. Very pleasant to sip on plain. I think this flavor profile is part of why I like Nepali teas so much. It seems almost “soft” in flavor if that makes any sense.
Another sample tea from Nepali Tea Traders. Drinking tea this morning while my laundry is getting done although it looks like a beautiful day and I hope to get out and enjoy some of it after the chores are done.
Compared to yesterday’s tea, the leaves are much smaller and fine. I managed to follow instructions and let the boiling water cool for one minute and then steeped this for three minutes. I am rather impressed with the results. It’s difficult for me to drink a lot of black teas plain but this is very smooth without much bitterness or astringency. It has a slight cocoa flavor/aroma and is very smooth. I agree with Joshua that in some ways it is reminiscent of a darjeeling due to the stone fruit flavors but without that darjeeling “bite” that you can sometimes find in a second flush. It has the smoothness of a Chinese tea which is really interesting.
To me this is delightful and I will definitely consider picking up the larger size.
The first of a few samples I purchased from Nepali Tea Traders. I had some ambitious plans for today but right now I am drinking tea in my bathrobe and that seems okay with me. :)
These are gorgeous slender leaves that are a mix of dark brown and white. My cup brewed up to be a medium reddish-brown color that smells of walnut and oak. This is slightly reminiscent of a second flush darjeeling but with some mellow character. At first I did not notice the floral character at all, but as the cup cools I am finding it.
To me the flavor of this tea is nutty with a bit of astringency and the fruitiness really comes out in the finish. I used boiling water for my tea but on the website they suggest using water that has cooled off for one minute, so I will have to try that next time. I will update my tasting notes if I find anything has changed. I do seem to get better results with teas from this region and darjeelings with water that isn’t quite so hot. It is easy to drink this plain due to the mellow quality but it would also be nice with a touch of sweetener, definitely no milk.
Overall I was pleased with this, it seems to be a fine Nepali tea.
This little treasure was a surprise. Well, I knew I was going to like it since it had the word “Gold” in the title, and the fact that it had a lot of tippy leaves in the mix. Okay, sure, I’ve heard that such a presence doesn’t affect the taste any…but I like shiny things. So, shush.
This tasted like a cross between a tippy Dian Hong and a 2nd flush Darjeeling – Arya Ruby or Giddapahar clonal, to be precise. There were shades of malt, honey, cedar, peppers and grapes – all juggling at once. I’ve had a few Nepalese blacks in my time, but not one that actually tasted like something from China. I just dug the fact that it was so smooth and – for all intents and purposes – on the far side of unique.
(In case you haven’t guessed by now, “unique” is my thing.)
Wow, been awhile since I’ve been here. And – lo! – the site is working! Double-celebration!
This tea had three things going for it: One, it was from Nepal. Two, it was an oolong from Nepal. Three, it had the word yeti in it. The fact that it was going to taste good seemed to already be a given.
This is the first Himalayan oolong I’ve tried that actually mimicked the taste of an oolong for Taiwan or China. I like the muscatel kick of the region, but this offered something more traditional.
And, of course, in “traditional” fashion, I had to write more about it…and mythical creatures: http://steepstories.com/2013/04/16/wrestling-a-wild-yeti/
Wild Orchid Pearl Oolong ~ Nepali Tea Traders
Dry: Toasted, malty, tomato, floral-spicy
Wet: mussels-sweet ocean brine, peachy-stone fruit
Leaf: Carefully twisted golden and umber leaves, crafted in spirals and knots, dark against light, with reddish-sienna leaf hints. Pale golden pollen clings to the leaves and the bag. Almost a ‘temple of heaven’ –like look but with a darker and more complex appearance, laced with fuzzy gold and straw-hued threads.
Cup: Rose-brassy-orange hued liquor. Bright and sweet, light bodied, with dancing mineral notes, hints of roasted squash, walnut, and marigold. As the tea cools, hints of vegetal and spicy-floral notes deepen and emerge. Summery and crisp this tea is flavorful and dynamic.
2nd extraction added hints of lime zest and deepened the body as the leaves unfurled further. Sparkling and bright with a developing herbaceous and toasted bread aspect and continued floral and spicy canvas.
3rd extraction is extremely smooth and rich with a clean, sweet muscatel and slightly dry, spicy wine-like finish. The body develops and orchid fleshy weight that is supported by the vegetal and floral balance.
Directions: used 5g in 8oz of 200 degree water, in glass pot and decanted into glass cha hai to aerate, and then poured into ceramic cup. All tea ware was heated prior to use. First extraction was 2 minutes, second was 4 minutes, and third was 3 minutes; 4th extraction was thin in color and character and was not included.
Notes: The brightness and hue of the liquor is captivating and has a deeply reflective and powerfully light catching radiance that is worth being mindful of steeping, just to capture it. The ‘orchid’ in the name is interesting, as I was able to understand it a bit more as I explored the extraction and steeps, finding that it did indeed carry a orchid ‘fleshy’ leaf mouth feel/flavor that was woven into is at various temperatures and extractions.
My experiences with the ocean and at the edges of the sea are occasionally triggered by some teas and this was one of those rare moments. The cleaned, ocean-brine scent of a cleaned mussel shell finds itself in the still steaming leaves of the just poured 1st extraction. It was not a aroma I would have expected nor the hint of earth or barn that also weave into it as the leaves cool.
The crisp and brightness of the tea is extremely refreshing when ‘drink-ably hot’ and becomes clean and smooth bodied as it cools. The spicy floral finish is akin to a Darjeeling 2nd flush but more subtle and tickling.
I would easily rate this as one of the best offerings I have had from Nepali Tea Traders and while very different from the Ama Dablam White tea, I would say its an easy second for its color, range, crisp flavor and the discovery of orchid notes in the cup.
Nepali Tea Traders had this to say: This distinctive tea is plucked just before Nepal’s tea plants go dormant in mid-November. The beautiful pearls produce a subtle flavor with an amber infusion. This exquisite, complex oolong produces aromas of wild orchids. The flavor is soothingly fruity, characteristic of the finest of the autumnal teas from the Jasbirey foothills of Sandakphu.
Harvest Russet Oolong ~ Nepali Tea Traders
Dry: Sweet, spicy, toasted, and hints of citrus orange
Wet: Sweet and gently vegetal, fresh garden bean pods
Leaf: russet, burnt sienna and dark umber hued leaves, with wild twisted forms and irregular cut and twists, allowing for dark and golden edges to intertwine and resonate in reddish hints.
Cup: Coppery-brassy orange hued liquor. Clean, refreshingly crisp body with muscatel and stone-fruit notes and a spicy-floral lingering finish. Gently textured mouth feel that softly builds, leaving a crisp, mineral finish. 2nd steep introduced toasted, woody, and sour notes that hinted at peach pit, with the cup remaining bright, crisp and dynamic with perhaps even a hint of alpine strawberry.
Directions: used 5g in 8oz of 200 degree water, in glass pot and decanted into glass cha hai to aerate, and then poured into ceramic cup. All tea ware was heated prior to use. First extraction was 2 minutes, second was 4 minutes, and third was 3 minutes; 4th extraction was thin in color and character and was not included.
Notes: The leaf craft is amazing to look at, resembling in some aspects dan congs and loose leaf wild-crafted shou pu erhs, unique and fresh in appearance and fragrant.
Another great offering and surprising for its character and extraction.
Nepali tea traders had notes on the black tea by a similar name but not anything under the oolong and this may be a new listing that has yet to post.
Ama Dablam White Tea ~ Nepali Tea Traders ~ new autumnal crop
Dry: Toasted hay, spicy, floral, wild cumin seed, fruity
Wet: Perfume-like, sweet, fruity aspect of poached berries and rhubarb with spicy element
Leaf: Beautiful glossy white needles against dark, olive and grape leaf-hued leaves. Voluminous by weight and thickly woven with bud tips, this tea has an aspect of its Bai Mudan cousins with leaf, bud, and stem present, but in this case, the carefully drying and craft of pluck makes it delicate and lovely and clearly shows the care of its farmers.
Cup: Pale, white grapefruit flesh-hued liquor with clear, bright translucence and a mere hint of yellow. Smooth, butter, and clean, hints of toast, almonds, sunflower oil, and white pepper dance within each sip; exchanging hands and leaving the last motes to spin and vanish. Extremely warm in its flavor, yet clean and refreshing, gentle pollen notes linger and there is a hint of juiciness. The flavor blooms repeatedly with each sip and there is a teasing floral hint that holds onto the back of the throat and the sides of the tongue.
Directions: Used 3.1g in 10oz of 180 degree water in a glass pot, steeped for 4 minutes and decanted and aerated into a glass cha hai and served in white porcelain cups.
Notes: Second extraction was less complex but cleaner with an almost rose water element and a clean almond note. Water temp was increased to 190 and steep time was 3 minutes. 3rd extraction developed a rich buttery note and I used 195 degree temp steeped for 2 minutes and it also developed a snow pea note with a sweet, floral depth.
The craft of this tea is wonderful and it has a freshness and delicate appearance that emanates in both the leave and the cup. One of the best teas I have yet to try from Nepali Tea traders and one that I think distinctly shows a careful and loving artfulness. I truly hope that this continues and it finds more receptive tea lovers who can appreciate the subtle range of this cup. Many I’m sure will find its flavors to be overly delicate and will drink it for its ‘white’ nature, but I imagine with time the rarity of this cup will shine and show itself to be truly worthy of an honest and complete listen.
From Nepali Tea Traders: This special white autumnal tea is grown and processed in the style of the prized Bai Mudans from China. It is made from a bud with one leaf shoot from a specially cultivated plant. The tea is dried naturally, fired and then cured for more than a month so the flavor profile develops to the optimum level. The liquor is very pale green and has a mild floral aroma and a soothing sweet finish, devoid of astringency, and grassy flavors.
As this is my 50th review, I think it is fitting to adorn it with such an amazing tea and if anyone is interested or frequents facebook to follow me at ‘Tea Around Town’ where I post additional photos and post ‘n’ host tea tastings and talks in the Columbus, OH area. Hope to see you there.
Sandakphu Silver White Tea – Nepali Tea Traders
Dry: Wild, sweet, vegetal-floral aroma, roasted potato and oceanic
Wet: spicy, hints of fresh cut green beans, toasted and dried pumpkin seeds, dried sunflowers in the field
Leaf: Gnarled and twisted leaves, bud tips ghostly hued with stains of bronze, leaves peppered with red and umber hinting at oxidation, bai mudan-esque pluck with leaves, buds, stems and thin twists of leaf that look almost as if they are writhing.
Cup: Pale, clear, luminescent grapefruit flesh yellow hued liquor. Tea gives an initial impression of weight, evolving into a sweet, soft honey accent that transforms into a texture of floral. Spicy flavors of Mexican oregano slip about, yet the impression of subtly renders these accents as a regional distinction and the nature of the white tea and its craft comes through. Very smooth, blushing sweet mid-note that crisply fades with floral honey in its rippling wake. There is perhaps a orange pith or zest hint, but it is more akin to the lingering flavor after you have bit into a blood orange and the flavor stains your lips from the contact.
Directions: Brewed 3g of leaves in 11oz of 190 degree water, pre –extracted in a 1 oz of cold water for 1 minute and then steeped for 3 minutes and strained. Glass wear and held back leaves with titanium spoon.
Notes: I hesitate to use the word ‘animalist’ to pair in a aroma description, but the combination and complexity of this tea’s aroma is akin to something feral and wild, living and animal and almost resembles the scent of horses. There is a hint of something akin to breaded trout frying or the banks of a river, wet slate, cat-tails…it’s a complex merging of scent and memory that is cloudy and mercurial, making it difficult to find specifics definitions that are ‘food’ related.
The cup is surprising. From the style of leaf and the appearance, it looks very much like many other of the teas from NTT and so I didn’t really expect it to be a balance of subtly that is usually associated with white tea. The balanced nature of this cup is really wonderful and I think it is distinct enough to warrant seeking the others out, just to note the range of what can come from these teas and this region. I will also mention that the orange-esqe flavor does materialize as a ghostly remnant lingering on the palate long after the cup has been finished and this is a wonderful surprise of the cup.
\As it so happens I also happen to have a small remaining amount of the Sandakphu Nepalese White Orange that won in the North American Tea Championship in 2012 in the hot white tea division. In direct comparison in aroma the Rare Tea Republic tea has a much more distinct citrus/orange zest floral note and from appearance seems to have plumper buds and a higher overall bud presence, where the NTT seems to have a smaller bud and stronger leaf presence. Both have a very similar overall hue and texturally look very similar with the RTR having a ‘brighter’ more silvery look mostly due to the visibility of buds. The aroma of the NTT is more conjuring and elusive to define, while the RTR is more distinct.
I had wanted to include a photo of the two teas side by side for visual comparison, but I didn’t have the image uploaded to share.
Organic Ilam Sencha Green Tea – Nepali Tea Traders
Dry: Fresh cut hay drying in the field, faint chestnut-toasted note, and an overall intensity like perfume.
Wet: Grassy, sweet pea, soy cream
Leaf: Long grassy shards, hues ranging from dark olive to mat, pale green, and variously textured on the surface with fine lines resembling Monkey King (where drying baskets imprint on the leaves in cross patterns that are distinct). Resembling preserved cut grasses and with some leaves nearly 2-3” in length. It does share a very ‘sencha’ hued and shaped leaf and the aroma is distinctly like a mid-grade Japanese sencha.
Cup: Bright lemony-white grapefruit hued liquor, with a delicate nose. Initial impression is one of weight and texture with a slightly granule-mineral imprint that then splashes with an electric, bright astringency, grassy overtones and sharp-clean citrus-lime zest hints. A small amount of particulate rests in the bottom of the cup and resembles yellow pollen, but the nature of the leaf would suggest otherwise. As one sips from the cup the mineral notes increase as does the impression of grassy-citrus, but the most notable characteristic is the building, cleansing texture on the tongue and the mouth rolling body. In many ways similar to the Chinese produced senchas that have been steadily supplanting traditional Japanese sencha, but with a much more dynamic mouth feel and a cleaner flavor that lacks the flat, grassy nature that is common to sencha replacements. I would lean towards shorter extraction times or the texture becomes too associated with astringency and then a bitter response builds.
Directions: Used 4.5g of leaves in glass vessel, covered with 1oz cold filtered water and then added 4oz of 180 degree water and steeped 2-3 minutes, judging extraction by color and aerating into second glass beaker to decant. Did a second hot steeping using 160 degree water for 2 minutes and then a cold steeping to finish.
Notes: The first thing that grabs me is the name. There are many origins and processes that are possible when a tea is rendered into a ‘green’ leaf and without going into a longer debate about fermentation, steaming, withering and the general process to arrive a this ‘type’ of tea it is important to also note the distinction of tradition, language and ‘grading’ that distinguishes Sencha from ‘green tea’. A quick online search will point out that Sencha is a common Japanese term for green tea grown in Japan and there is some debate as to whether it has a meaning other than one that language and cultural define. Case being that ‘sencha’ then is simply ‘green tea’ and so while the term may be borrowed and applied it is no more contextually relevant than the other words for ‘tea’ like cha, te, tea, ect… It seems the borrowing of the term sencha is then to draw in people in the US who have little to no exposure to a tea education and who buy tea based on what little they know (I.E. black, green, white…) and in the case of the word sencha, to draw in those people who have a particular interest in ‘Japanese-styled’ green teas. What is perhaps debatable is the connection to one level of obscurity that is becoming more and more of concern and muddies a transparency issue: the selling of teas under cultural names (like Sencha) that are actually produced in other countries in a style similar.
A great example would be the making of ‘sencha-styled’ teas in China that are marketing under the Japanese term/name and are then able to sell for the perceived value of Japanese teas ($$$) over the generally cheaper Chinese green teas ($). I recently explored a wholesale offering of gyokuro (a Japanese term) on a website that upon speaking with a representative about its geographic origin (to ensure that it wasn’t in the wake of regions affected by the Tsunami), learned that it was actually a tea from China. At a cost that was nearly what I have bought at retail Japanese Shinriku green tea!
The trend is very rampant in flavored green tea blends as well, where Japanese tea is too pricy to use and instead ‘sencha-styled’ green teas are used as a base. Often in descriptive write-ups, the vague term green tea or sometimes sencha is used without distinction of origin and this can lead a customer to think they know where the ‘base’ tea’s origins are.
The truth is perhaps we can simply call ‘green tea’ by any cultural name we like, allowing blenders and distributors to follow market trends, but we should be cautionary as they are utilizing and manipulating the level of customer education that is out there. We don’t need tea enthusiasts who know nothing about what they drink, as it is probable that then they simply will chase ‘titles’ and price; potentially leading to tea drinkers who care little for the teas origin, scarcity, or cultural uniqueness. Kenya is an example of this kind of market control, where many believe that only CTC or coarse grades of tea can come from the region and that they are only good for iced tea, blending, and full oxidation. Recent moves by a few passionate tea farms have begun to show that tea craft and quality can be just as great in Kenya as in other more recognized regions of ‘quality’ full leaf tea. The move to illustrate this as well as provide interest to the tea public and allow traditionally niche regions to break out of ‘expected’ molds and ask for premium prices, leading to a better living for the farmers and a more comprehensive picture of what tea can be.
I would think that a rare and special tea like this one would benefit from a transparency of origin that would use a name indigenous to the region of Nepal and then this could be a discussion and education point, a way of distinguishing the tea and setting it apart in a meaningful and educational way; one that creates a cultural bridge and draws attention to the humanitarian effort and the development of needed markets for progress and growth.
It is much like the term ‘pu erh’ and its regional specificity to Yunnan, China. Yunnan is pu erh’s tea homeland and its people gain recognition and gather a devoted interest from this distinction. I know much more about the mountains of Yunnan and the ethnic minorities who live there from my love of pu erhs, I can distinguish mountain/regional terroir and notice blends, and even identify various years of harvest, making the distinction important and defendable. It has led me to develop an appreciation for the cultures and the craft that goes into pu erhs and stimulates interest. I think this is in part due to the teas regional transparency.
To know Nepal from its teas, from its people, its land and its uniqueness, would in itself be a gift. Nepal has a long culture of tea tradition, with its history drawn along the teahorse road; a route hundreds of years old and involving many ethic groups and cultural traditions. Nepal is a home to legendary mountains and a rich cultural tradition of storytelling and myth, tea sharing and hospitality.
If the Nepali Tea Company really wants to share their mission of advocacy and cultural improvement, then it follows that they should celebrate that with the names of their teas and should create a conversation with them, rather than borrow names that call to other cultural contexts to appeal to a less involved market.
To capture a premium tea price, look only to pure Japanese gyokuro or a vintage Yunnan pu erh: the fans are there and the devotion is forever. Yet new traditions and interest can be born from connecting to a place through the flavor in a tea, with that depth only deepening with the questions that arise from its name and its origin.
If a tea is ‘green’ let it be so in its leaf, and let its name ring distinctly and elude to its native origins, development, culture, or mythology; don’t let it uniqueness hide it behind another region’s cultural term. The comparison is not worthy of either land or tea and merely pits mountain dragon against the rising sun.
As an afterward…I held a cupping of the Nepali Tea Trader’s teas at a local shop to great applaud and while I was packing up happened across a couple who were looking for a green tea and offered to share this rare tea with them (never calling it sencha) but identified it as a green tea from Nepal and they were spell bound. I cupped it out to them and they proclaimed it to be the best green tea they had ever had and they gravitate towards the story of the Nepali Tea Traders and their mission. It was a great moment.
Himalayan Golden– Nepali Tea Traders
Dry: Floral, spicy, Mexican oregano, Muscatel
Wet: Rich floral- spice note that is soft and delicate
Leaf: Gorgeous long, narrow twisted leaves, dark umber hued, woven with golden fuzzy threads and the occasional dark-brick red leaf.
Cup: Bright, brassy-orange hued liquor, emanating gently muscatel aroma. Clean, lively front notes and extremely smooth, with a blushing floral-spicy flavor that fades into a mineral finish that is extremely crisp. Floral pollen notes hang on the finish and render a summery, Yhen Zhen Silver Needle feel to the palate which grips the edges of the tongue and hangs at the back of the throat. Refreshing, delicate and complex with a similarity to 3rd flush Darjeeling teas.
Directions: Used 3.5 g in 8oz of 203 degree water steeped for 3-4 minute and poured on high to aerate.
Notes: Reminiscent of Golden Darjeeling from Tao of Tea, but with a more assertive spice note that springs from dry Mexican oregano to grape vine. Very clean and smooth.
Wrote this a few weeks ago and it was shared with the crew at Nepali Tea Traders…not a very ‘story-like’ rendering, but I cupped this along with many other of their teas within a few days time and there were distinctive moments and then cups that resonated and completed the bridge with others. The Himalayan gold shares a characteristic that is indeed a defining bridge to a common flavor that could be defined as a regional terrior. If you listen to each of the regions teas, you can hear it…a silken thread of flavor that snakes through them all and speaks the language of the mountains and hints at the crush of continents and the thunder of captured clouds.
Once more, a sample from the amazing Nepali Tea Traders!
I opened the bag, and it smeels almost exctly like a sencha, but there is something that makes it stand apart that I just can’t quite put my finger on…regardless the aroma is pleasantly grassy and very fresh, both of which suggest a very nice tea. I put this in my teapot, and steeped it with fooler water for 20 second, since I’m not familiar with the tea, and it’s better to be safe than sorry with green tea in general. The result is amazingly sweet, with a hint of grass thrown in to really make it taste authentic. The thing that really stands out is that the smooth texture and slight mineral flavor that I’m geting out of this tea. It’s a very nice addition to what I normally get out of a sencha, and I can’t wait to see what else this tea has to offer.
The much-delayed second infusion was steeded for 15 secodns at a bit of a warmer temperature than the first. The results has a bit more astringency, but still retains all of the sweetness to balance it out, resulting in a vey pleasant cup of tea. There’s an intereesting almost-metalic aftertaste that lingers on the roof of my mouth for over a minute as well, and I’m really pleased by this development. This tea seems to get better and better.
Another day, another great smaple from NEpali tea. I used a generous helping of leaves in my cast iron tea pot, and used near-boiling water to steep the tea for 15 seconds. The result is interesting, falling somewhere between Darjeelings, Yunnan blacks, and Assams. It has hints of fruity notes like muted Darjeelings, yet it has a bit of Yunnan maltiness (is that even a word?), but not the yunnan texture. It’s actually a bit smoother than an Assam, but the point here is that this tea is similar to many teas, yet has a distinct flavor to make it stand out. Anyway, the smoothness is not quite silky, but still very pleasant, and the aftertaste is a very interesting ligerning smoothness that begins to tingle after a while. I can’t wait to see how it develops.
Well, real life came bursting through my door, and my free time evaporated rather quickly. I didn’t have time to drink more of this tea, and I’m rther disappointed. Hopefully I’ll havce several uninterrupted hours for my next tasting session.