Nepali Black Tea
Sandakphu, Ilam, Nepal
Monsoon Flush, Fall 2016
Natural cultivation (organic, but not certified)
This tea offers the best of the Himalayas. A smooth, golden-red cup with a distinct cocoa flavour and notes reminiscent of honey pastries. Further steeps introduce a subtle smoky hint, but never any bitterness or astringency. You'll feel the rich red earth of Sandakphu beneath your toes and the mountain air in your lungs.
Gongfu style: 90°C water, 5g of tea per 100ml water. 1st steep: 15 seconds, add 5 seconds for each additional steep.
Western style: 90°C water, >1g of tea per 100ml water. (This is approx. 1 tablespoon for a large mug.) 1st steep: 3 minutes, add 1 minute each additional 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 traders who pay below-market prices and then resell the teas as fine Indian teas to make a profit.
Himalayan Golden 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.