Ilam, Nepal Autumn 2016 Natural cultivation (organic, but not certified)
This lovely dark oolong offers a deep amber cup full of complexities- an aroma of sweet cherries, balanced by nuttiness, bright and brisk but also warming. Perfect for your next trek through the Himalayas.
Gongfu style: 90°C water, 5g leaves per 100ml of water. 1st steep: 10-15 seconds, then add 5 seconds for each subsequent steep.
Western style: 90°C water, >1g per 100ml of water. (This is approx. 1 tablespoon for a large mug). 1st steep: 2 minutes, then add 30 seconds for each subsequent steep
Meet the Grower:
Though Nepal is small, its terrain varies significantly, from tropical lowlands to the highest mountain peaks in the world. Only a sliver of mountainous land is suitable has just the right climate for cultivating premium teas. It encourages the tea bushes to grow slowly, which produces better, more complex flavors. .
Although the teas in Nepal are considered some of the best in the world, historically, Nepalese farmers have been taken advantage of by unethical traders who pay below-market prices and then resell the teas as fine Indian teas to make a profit.
Dragon Claw Oolong is crafted by the Sandakphu Co-op, led by teamaster Chandra Bhushan Subba. Bhushan is a native of the Ilam region who went to India to get his tea husbandry degree, then returned to Nepal to use his horticulture and business expertise to help the farmers of Ilam.
Building on 26 years’ experience in the tea industry, Bhushan has pushed to improve prospects for small farmers and focused on producing only the highest quality tea. In 2010, he, his wife and 4 farmer shareholders began the Sandakphu Co-op. The small farmers who become shareholders and entrepreneurs in the co-op can make money both from selling their premium tea leaves and from their share of the factory’s profits. They take pride in farming top-quality teas because of their ownership in the whole process.
Today, approximately 135 farmers are proud to sell their premium tea leaves to Sandakphu.