Nepali Green Tea
Jasbirey, Ilam, Nepal
Autumn flush 2015
We call this a green tea, but it actually could be called a green tea or a white tea. It is picked from very young, downy leaves resembling a white tea, and if it is brewed lightly, you may taste the sweet alfalfa notes that white tea lovers seek. Brew it a bit longer, and the more vegetal, grassy notes will appear, alongside a delicious butteriness that results from processing in the manner of a green tea.
Gongfu style: 80°C water, 5g tea to 100ml water. 1st steep: 15 seconds, then add 5 seconds each subsequent steep.
Western style: 80°C water, 1-2g tea to 100ml 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:
Led by community leader Purna Mukhiya, Hariyali Cooperative is an independent grower seeking to make a name for Nepal on the international tea stage. Tea has been growing here for many decades, even before the establishment of the cooperative and its shared-use facilities.
As a result, many of the teamakers here are some of the most knowledgeable handcrafters in Nepal, having inherited the skills from their parents and grandparents. Sharad Subba, one of the most skilled crafters, is the son of one of the village's "Mothers of Tea", a group of women who have been making tea for decades. Hariyali's teamakers have learned to intuitively handle tea leaves, changing the crafting of various batches of tea to suit the personality of each tea field's harvest.
In the typical collaborative Nepalese spirit, some of the teamakers have gone on to share tea knowledge with many other cooperatives in Nepal.
The tea plants are grown at high altitude, with wonderfully fertile soil that seems alive with bugs, native plants, and wildflowers. The farmers of the cooperative grow with all-natural methods, using natural manures. The name "Hariyali" describes a beautiful, vivid green landscape.