Nepali Tea Traders

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Recent Tasting Notes

74

Here’s Hoping Teabox – Round Seven- Tea #3
Another gem from the teabox. The looks of these leaves are deceiving. Though I only used a teaspoon, this doesn’t taste like oolong at all! More like a very light black tea like a darjeeling? (but still more astringent than those usually are.) But the leaves definitely LOOK like a conventional oolong. Usually I don’t find an astringent oolong, so this is odd. It isn’t even like a roasted oolong. I was really looking forward to this one too, as I LOVE the oolongs that have that hint of orchid. The brew here results in a medium brown color. The leaves look like a light oolong but taste like a black tea! The Steepster picture actually doesn’t even look the same as the leaves I tried — the leaves there actually do look like a light black tea. Never had that happen before. I don’t think the steep time would have made a difference. The third steep the next day was much weaker.
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for a full mug// 6 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // couple minutes after boiling // 3 1/2 minute steep
Steep #3 // couple min after boiling // 3 minute steep

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87

I got this through LiquidProust’s regional oolong buy. The big notes that I am getting from this is a large amount of honey and orchid flavor. The sent on this tea smells delicious and actually smells like some of the medium roasted teas that I have tried despite it not being roasted.

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Honey, Orchid, Peach

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Two interesting points on this tea:
1. Follow their recommended brewing parameters, which is Western-style with low temps. (185F recommended)

2. If you go rogue and try gong-fu style, you will encounter flavors not unlike Parmesan cheese. No joke. Salty, creamy, savory. Weird.

OK, so after my Parmesan cheese encounter and after having decided to maybe just follow the instructions CLEARLY PRINTED on the packet, my verdict is that the tea is OK.

The caramel notes are tasty, and the orchid/floral/fruity thing is good, but really, I prefer more prominent flavors. The lack of a strong aftertaste was a bit annoying. It’s a very soft tea for sure.
*
Dry leaf: musty red currant, dried apricot, coriander, floral (orchid, I guess!), hints of orange-chocolate. In preheated vessel – oily roasted almond nuttiness appears.

Smell – roast almond, orange, apricot, some salty/savory/creamy notes present

Taste – salted caramel, toffee, almond, coriander, orange blossom (or orchid, who knows). Aftertaste is almost non-existent; very light floral/citrus.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 240 ML

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This is much like a scented/flavored tea. It’s less about the flavor of the tea leaf itself and more about the quality of the added scent/flavor. The base tea is good, but fairly understated. It cannot compete with the overt smoke flavors that are there.

So, with that in mind, I would say that if you are after a smoky, savory tea experience, this tea does fairly well. The smoke flavor is rich and savory – not ashy or burnt. Notes of smoked meat and campfire log, with some notes of maple and brown sugar like you would find in smoked meat. Honestly, if you’ve ever had Cracker Barrel sausage patties (a Midwest classic), or even just hickory-smoked bacon, then you know what this tea tastes like.

All that said, it is tasty, if the flavors above are what you are after. Try drinking it outside too – the smoky richness really opens up in the fresh air.

Not at all something I would drink all the time, but it is a quality product.
*
Dry leaf: hickory smoked bacon, campfire logs. In preheated vessel – hickory smoke, smoked sausage, hints of maple syrup and brown sugar.

Smell: hickory smoke, smoked sausage (less overt than dry leaf), woody, some red fruit notes, hint of dried apricot, black tea blend

Taste: hickory smoked sausage with some maple notes, roasted almonds. Aftertaste is light and smoky.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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Backlog:

I’m a definite fan. Orchid aroma and taste throughout with some malt, roast and honey in the after taste. It actually reminded me of eating a chocolate orchid-the literal flower. This reminded me of black Darjeelings in the way I like them: floral, muscatel, a little dry, and bitter sweet.The darker amber color also reminded me of some Darjeelings. I got several cups gong fu-like 8 or 9. I need to try this western, but know if I am looking for a Darjeeling substitute, this would be a go to for me.

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85

I received this tea from the regional oolong group buy, and upon opening was struck by the lovely floral and honey scent of the dry leaves. I brewed it in a kyusu 30 seconds at a time and it had a lovely floral aroma that did indeed smell like orchids (one in particular I had smelled at the Denver botanical gardens but cannot remember the name of)

The liquor has the color of a very clear piece of amber, and has a nectar like consistency and taste. Heavy on the sugarcane and flowers. Throughout two liters of water the tea held a good taste that mostly remained the same trading off viscosity for minerality in later steeps and finally quitting after steeping with boiling water for 15 or so minutes.

This tea actually put Nepali Tea Traders on my list of companies I would like to order more tea from.

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Cinnamon, Floral, Grass, Honey, Orchid, Sugarcane

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

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80

I had a bunch of this for some reason, so I decided to brew some up and see why.

The leaves are light, large, and smell of dried flowers with grassy high tones. I placed a fair amount in my kyusu and brewed away. The taste is very sweet but thin. I get the prominent green bean note along with some light florals. This was a nice tea, and it was easy to relax with; however, the brew is much to thin.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BRLg9rDgaRK/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel&hl=en

Flavors: Floral, Grass, Green, Green Beans, Sweet

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 45 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80

Way old backlog.

This was a solid white silver needle-esque white tea that is incredibly floral and herby. If I brewed it longer or with more leaves, this had a sweet potatoe malt against its overall wheat and hay like dryness. Its dryness is what threw me a curve ball especially if it got astringent, but if I brewed with a bit more delicately with 2-3 grams of leaves, it was a good balance with the dryer qualities with a hint of the softer profiles popping out. There was some melon notes here in there, but melon is one of those weird ass notes to start with anyway.

My criticism is that this tea was dryer and herby than the usual white. I am so glad to have tried it, but I think I’ll stick to Kenya and Fujian until I have another Himalayan or Nepali tea that wows me-which I know will probably happen. This is also more for a tea snob who knows what they are looking for, or for someone expanding their palette.

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75

From the Regional Group Buy. I brewed it with cooled hot water from work (just feeling it, no temperature gauge), loose leaf tea bag, and a coffee mug.

A nice grassy light green tea. Very smooth and not bitter at all.

Flavors: Cut grass, Grass, Straw

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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70

A nice, lite grassy tea. Made with the hot water spigot at work and small gaiwan. 30 Second steep. Neither the water nor tea was measured, just eyeballed.

Flavors: Dry Grass, Straw

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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70

Sipdown (230)!

Finished this one off on the bus ride/walk home.

I agree with my first tasting note that the main flavour of this one seems to be green bean. However, I think these was also a bit of a buttery/artichoke flavour too which I don’t see as something I noted during my first tasting of it. The finish is still nutty, kind of like a Dragonwell. I don’t taste the smoke note I observed last time.

It’s interesting how there are some consistencies, but not across the board.

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HS7xudghUsM&list=LL1M1wDjmJD4SJr_CwzXAGuQ&index=105

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70

From the Regional Buy!

Drank this one Western because I’m not typically a fan of Gong Fu brewing greens; generally don’t like ‘em so why would I want an extended session with one? This one wasn’t horrible though! I found it leaned a lot more towards what I’d associate with a Chinese green rather than a Japanese one: strong notes of green beans and peas, and then a finish that was a little smoky and nutty. Mostly green beans though.

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCYWymG9fSs&list=LL1M1wDjmJD4SJr_CwzXAGuQ&index=141&shuffle=4026

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From the Regional Group Buy.

Tried this with Western brewing first and failed – I under-leafed despite following the directions. I had a better time with a gongfu session, using a ceramic gaiwan. Steeping times: 10 seconds, 15, 20, 30, 45; 1 minute, 2, etc.

The dry leaf smells lightly vegetal and hay-like. The wet leaf aroma is stronger, smelling vegetal and buttery, with notes of soybean and edamame. The liquor is clear and very pale, barely green. Having a medium body, it feels bright and clean. The taste didn’t undergo any evolution throughout the session. The flavors were consistent: beans, edamame and buttery asparagus. Texture is slightly thick. The sweet, vegetal aftertaste lingers for minutes.

Emerald Spring reminds me of Mao Feng. Good quality. I enjoyed this, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase more. It tastes nice though it didn’t wow me.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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79

My mom and I had a nice moment last evening where we each had a mug of tea, and were both relaxing listening to an album we’re both fans of while comparing notes/thoughts on the music; it was really nice!

She wasn’t actually drinking this tea though; she doesn’t seem to appreciate the delicate nuances of white teas all that much so I’ve stopped sharing them – why waste the tea on someone who wont appreciate it?

This was great though; like other times, I observed some soft hay notes, cooling almost cucumber like vegetal notes and a sweeter honey finish. Additionally, I also felt like I got hints of some herbaceous notes in both the very tippy top of the sip and then also in the finish: sort of a rosemary sort of thing. It was kind of weird; not that I haven’t experienced it with other white teas, just not as much this particular white tea. Still pleasant though: I’ve got a few other cups left, so I’ll definitely need to look for it in the future.

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OdazEVnFDM&index=9&list=PL4_RV82NfwS_dmptFTLCtk2JnlLwA50vO

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79

Drank this one as an iced tea, with a 1/2 pump of agave because I was sharing it with a coworker and I was a little worried they wouldn’t like it if it wasn’t sweetened at least a little bit…

This was pretty good as an iced tea, but of everything I drank that day I have to say that it was my least favourite thing. It had a clear honeyed taste to it and some mild hay notes but the most interesting this was the cool, bordering of cucumber like undertones to the sip. Like a sweeter cucumber, I guess?

Not bad – but not something to revisit either.

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79

Regional Buy.

Drank this one with breakfast yesterday before I’d left my mom’s house. I guess in a way this one sort of closes out the teas I drank this holiday season?

It was nice enough; I drank it Western style because that was more convenient since I was in the process of packing up everything I’d brought with for the weekend. I got lots of this from the group buy so it’ll be easy to go back and revisit it Gong Fu when I have time.

This is my first white tea from Nepal, I do believe, and it was interesting because I didn’t notice a lot of flavour qualities that make it distinct from other whites I’ve tried. It had that straw/hay quality whites often do, and a honeysuckle like sweetness even if I think it was a little less delicately sweet than Chinese white’s tend to come off as. You know, more of an abrupt flavour than a nuanced one that weaves through the sip. I also thought there was a great cucumber flesh like vegetal quality to this which was light, crisp, and refreshing but also very soft and in the background. Perhaps a little malty, but also kind of creamy? Like a cross between malt and fresh cream.

I’m very fascinated by this one, and look forward to trying it again.

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75

White tea will never be my favorite, but silver tips white tea seems better than most. It doesn’t taste so strongly of hay. There’s almost a light muscatel note here, plus a combination of sweet and savory notes. Re-steeped well.

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78

Gong Fu Sipdown (214)!

- Approx. seven infusions
- Very sweet overall and smooth
- Some Assam like notes: malt, honey, French bread, cocoa, molasses
- With jammy fruit undertones
- Actually considerably different than the Western cup of this that I drank

As much as I’m enjoying this “Gong Fu in the moment” thing I seem to have going on lately, I have to admit that I don’t like how it translates into my tasting notes. Yes, it’s enjoyable to be able to just sit down with a pot (or in this case Gaiwan) of tea and just have a good experience, but then I feel like I’m also losing something in not full mapping out the evolution of flavours between infusions.

Plus, in the case of a tea like this which was so different steeped Western vs. Gong Fu I think I would have liked to have had a more documented account of those differences just for my own reference in the future…

How do you guys find a balance?

CrowKettle

I just accept that my gong fu notes are inadequate. I usually make a note for the first few infusions and then add onto it later if I feel a need. I like your point form approach here though! It’s too bad steepster doesn’t allow for the creation of a flavour/infusion Venn diagram or chart. :P

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78

Hooray! The regional group buy I bought from LP on Black Friday is here, and I’m cracking into it today before I have to head off to DAVIDsTEA for work…

I’m starting with the black Nepalese tea because that’s the one I was most excited about; I have a particular fascination for Nepalese teas more than any other region/country so these were the teas I was most eager to get my hands on. I just love everything I know about the country; and the idea that the terroir is so similar to India’s really intrigues me as well because I do enjoy Indian black tea a lot.

I’ve even been off and on planning with a farm down in Nepal to come and work for them for a couple weeks during harvesting season – the only thing stopping that from happening, at this point, is just the money/travel costs. Someday, though!

I’m really enjoying this one though; the flavour is sort of medium bodied on the cusp of a full bodied flavour with a nice briskness to it. It finishes very cleanly, as well, with a honey sweetness. As far as body flavour goes, I definitely feel like the primary notes coming through are malt and raisin, with maybe a bit of a rye bread sort of mild undertone. There’s also something very autumnal about it; sort of the autumn leaf pile sort of flavour. As it cools down some of that fruity flavour described by the company comes though, but I’d argue more of a red fruit note than a stonefruit.

It’s nice! Very smooth, and clean. That keeps in line with the other Nepali black teas I’ve tried; all have had very clean profiles and medium(ish) bodied flavours. I’ve yet to try a Nepali green/white from what I can remember, so I’m really curious for those experiences next! I think I’m going to have a lot of fun with this group buy…

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Got 3 grams of this in a stash buy and had it with rhinkle to finish up lunch today.

Used all 3 grams and a lot less water in the gaiwan than I normally would, of course. This brews up a nice reddish amber with a deep roasted scent. Did a good few steeps and got a consistent, roasty flavor, with hints of floral. This one didn’t stand out to me very much, but it was enjoyable and rhinkle really liked it.

Flavors: Floral, Roasted

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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Another that I got from Haveteawilltravel.

Dry leaves smell roasted with a hint of sweetness, carries over into liquor, which is a nice deep red.

Sweet, roasty. Deep earthy sweet scent clings to cup. First sip of the second steep has a bit of bitterness, followed by nuttiness, like eating a walnut. The next couple of steeps come with a pretty stone-fruity aftertaste that lingers for a good while.

This was pretty good, and as far as I can tell, Nepali no longer has this on their site, so I’m glad we were able to try it!

Flavors: Roasted, Stonefruits, Sweet, Walnut

Preparation
6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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85

Well, the wet leaf of this tea smells vile, but that’s really not unique. In fact, I think I’ve had another tea from this very company whose wet leaf smelled like rotten hot dogs.

FORTUNATELY, the brew neither smells nor tastes like rotten hot dogs. The brew smells sweet, like gentle spring flowers. Peonies? I have no idea if peonies bloom in the spring, but just go with it. Don’t shatter my bubble. Maybe some honey in there, but mostly the flowers.

I don’t have a lot of experience with whites, so I don’t know what I am supposed to expect. The brew is sweet and floral. I’m not really familiar with the individual scents of flowers, but I’m feeling pink ones. Shall we stick with peonies? There’s also a little funk, which reminds me of a green tea. Perhaps some sweet snap peas?

I think this might be a tea best enjoyed in the spring.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Fjellrev

Ugh, come to think of it, I swear I’ve had a tea that smelled like hot dogs too and I’m wondering if it was a white tea.

Rasseru

I’ve got white tea that in the bag smells like sweaty socks :)

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Haveteawilltravel threw this in with the other stuff I bought from their stash. Used all 3g of this. The rolled leaves are varying shades of brown and have a sweet but somewhat roasted aroma. I fill the 100 ml gaiwan about halfway up with water for a quick rinse, and then refill it the same amount for the first steep.

The leaves expand pretty quickly. They are brown, mostly whole and have a very roasted smell. The liquor is a nice amber color. This is a fairly oxidized oolong, but it has a nice mellowness that I can enjoy.

We open up some castella-style dorayaki to eat as we drink. The taste of the tea reveals some faint sweet and bitter notes as we drink. All-in-all, it doesn’t blow us away, but we’re glad we got to give it a try!

Flavors: Roasted

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 50 ML

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89

This steeped out so light that I wasn’t sure there was going to be any flavor to the brew—a light yellowish green. Though the flavor itself is light and refreshing, it’s stronger than the color would lead me to believe.

It’s hard to pin this one down. It tastes green and yellow at the same time—partially dried grass and hay? The easiest flavor to pick out is the buttery bean flavor that I associate with gyokuro, but it’s not as intense a flavor.

This is a very good tea, but I would say that there are better out there.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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