Nepal Tea LLC‘s story started in the 1960s when Mr. Deepak Prakash Baskota was inspired by the tea industry in Darjeeling. He comes back to his village in East Nepal, and unfortunately gets instantly rejected when he brought his idea up to the town. Undeterred, he starts planting tea in his backyard and the original elder who rejected the idea gave the unused lands which would then be the 1st Certified Organic Tea Garden in Nepal, the Kanchanjangha Tea Estate. The story continues with the later founder being born, Nishchal, who eventually starts selling authentic, organic Nepal Teas.
Nepal Teas LLC sent me their Nepal Tea Sampler Collection to review, which has each of their 11 teas that they offer. The one difficulty I found with this sampler, was it really only gave me one shot to drink it each time. This was hard because in a couple of cases, I oversteeped which really did not work out for reviews. However, I wanted to give you a little insight into each tea as I exp
Shangri La Oolong: The aroma was quite fruity with some very slight and sweet plum notes coming through. After a little more examination, I also noticed a few muscatel grade notes as well. After brewing, I continued to notice some sweet grape notes along with a few roasted/smoked notes. The color of the tea was an amber coloring, more reddish tones with orange edges. The taste was quite consistent with what I expected from the aroma. There was a lovely combination of roasted and floral notes with a lingering sweetness on my tongue. The tea had some bright notes with a malty sourness to it. As I got further into the tea, I noticed a slight drying and astringency with slight hints of bitterness. The tea rounds out after six steeps.
Kanchanjangha Noir: I made this tea into an extremely malty cup, so much that it slightly lose some of the normal nuances that I can depend on with tea from Nepal. I wanted to play around with some of these teas and see how it brewed Western-style, since others would most likely either brew gong-fu or Western (probably Western since many teas from India & Nepal are suggested to be brewed that style due to their more makeup). Was nice and malty and brewed a nice second brew. There were some slight
Color: deep Reddish Auburn, clear
Ingredients: Black Tea
Kumari Gold: I brewed this tea while working in my gaiwan, one of my favorite work companions. The leaves were dark and wiry, and seem to be the whole leaf. I heated up the teaware to bring out the dry notes of sweet muscatel grape which brought a bit of sourness to the overall aroma. As I brewed the tea, I noticed the aroma getting more astringent with some slightly roasted sharpness. The resulting brew was amber-red looking with orange tones. I first noticed a smooth character and very even taste. It did not appear very complex on the first sip but continued to have that certain feeling of Nepalese teas. It had almost a very subtle plum note in the third steeping but overall just a wonderfully comforting feeling. It was a very mild tea, quite calming to sip on while working. I had driven quite a bit today, so it was a nice tea to work and sip on.
Silver Yeti (Silver Tips): Dry leaves are small with a grayish-green coloring, and many small little white hairs all over the leaves. I ate one 🙂 It was crunchy, but help a really nice creaminess and floral taste. Aroma is fairly floral-like and slightly sweet. Color is an extremely light and clear brew. This tea was quite mellow and light, just extremely pleasant to drink. Naturally has a sweet aroma, almost something grape-like or other fruit-like. I drank this tea in a french press and I was a bit worried of it over steeping while I was sipping, but it was not the case at all.
Kanchanjangha Verde: I did a side-by-side comparison of this tea with the Ganesha Green, however, I made a bit of a faux pas. I did not hear the timer on my phone so these were steeped about a minute and 15 seconds too long. So this created a bit harder time to analyze the teas, but that really happens when looking at single servings samples! I ended up drinking half of them each, and then combining them into an iced tea so I did not waste one drop of it! The tea leaves looked to be more chopped up and in pieces instead of more whole leaves. The brewed color was a nice deep golden color. The aroma was subtle but seemed like there was a really creamy element to it. I noticed that the taste was a bit more minerally than I was expecting, and did not really hold too much complexity. I am not sure if it was the tea itself, but this green one was not really for me.
Ganesha Green: I drank this tea while sipping on the Kanchanjangha Verde, to see if there was a true difference between the two. It might have been me and my taste buds not really feeling like working, but I again did not get much from this tea either. The tea leaves were larger than the other one, almost dark, wiry even pieces. The brewed color was also quite golden but almost orangish tones as well. The aroma was a bit more vegetal than the other one, but not a lot of aroma came out. The taste overall was subtle with lingering spinach notes. A slight sweetness showed up near the middle of my cup. I noticed a slight drying effect happening, but I again, think that was due to my oversteeping.
Nepali Breakfast: I understood that this was a chai-like blend, but I was quite lazy when I was preparing it and made it in a teapot instead of a stove. I ended up doing that for all of the chai-blends and absolutely loved that I did. I really enjoyed this tea, I was a bit scared to have it steep for 5 minutes but it came out perfectly. The aroma was extremely appealing to my senses, with hints of cardamom, clove and possibly sweet cinnamon coming through. The color of the resulting tea was an amber-red coloring and extremely clear.
Ingredients: Kanchanjangha Noir organic black tea, organic ginger, organic black cardamom, organic cinnamon leaf and black pepper
Buddha’s Blend: I love the smell of this tea. It is lighter due to the white tea, so the spices really pop. I really could smell the cardamom with slight citrus elements. It was definitely shown in the brewed tea but even more in the dry version. The color of the brewed tea was golden and very clear. I was originally going to prepare this similar to chai, but again I just had the urge to drink it as is. And I was beyond glad that I did. The taste was again, quite light and just pleasant to drink. It was not extremely dynamic, but very consistent with that of a Nepali white tea. Light, smooth, and just lovely to sip on. The spices gave it a slightly interesting element, with a tad bit of cardamom and cinnamon after feeling to it.
Ingredients: Organic White Prakash, Ginger, cinnamon leaf, black cardamom, sichuan pepper, lemongrass, turmeric and orange peel
White Prakash: I brewed this tea more grandpa style in so I could sip on it gradually throughout my meeting. Before brewing, I chewed on a leaf to see what I would expect when drinking this tea. It was very subtle and had some floral, creamy notes. So I had an idea of what to expect when I brewed this tea. The aroma of the brewed tea was floral with light vegetal notes. It smelled pretty fresh as well. The overall taste of the tea was quite light and smooth, and as it steeped, it obviously got stronger and more floral. As I sipped on the tea, I noticed some mouthwatering notes but not really any lingering tasting notes. The tea, in general, seemed to be well preserved but I did notice that this one seemed a bit less bright or fresh as I normally recall White Prakash to be. This one seemed a bit heavier and as it steeped longer, more violet/floral notes appeared. The dry leaves were smaller and twisty with some white hairs on it, but when I steeped them, they turned a darker green and shown to be in the normal bud and leaf format.
Kathmandu Cosmos: I seemed to be extremely lazy with making these in a chai form, as I just continued the trend of making it western style. The color of the brewed tea was a nice gold orange, but as the picture shows, it was not a clear as the other chai blends. It had some smaller particles floating around. The aroma, however, was my favorite so far with beautiful citrus notes and a little kick of ginger/cardamom spice. It made me want to just stick my nose into it the whole time. The taste of the tea was a bit more citrus-forward much like the aroma suggested, but it was a bit darker than I was expecting. It’s more of a heavy feeling than an actual note. There was an overall drying feeling when sipping on the tea, and a burst of flavor/spices in my mouth and throat. The lingering taste was just the cardamom and dryness.
Ingredients: Organic golden tips black tea, regular SFTGFOP black tea, ginger, black cardamom, lemongrass, cinnamon leaves and orange peel
Mystique Melange: The aroma of this blend made my nose itch and sneeze, something a bit spicier and others a bit almost minty. It reminded me somehow of a gunpowder green tea. It seems like tulsi in the tea bag dry format. As the tea steeped, it took on a much heavier earthy aroma. The overall taste was much lighter than I expected, and this was my favorite of the green tea varieties although that is not saying much in the case of the green teas (since they were not my favorite). This definitely does not taste like a chai, but more of green tea and slight mint. I was extremely surprised that the taste was mint not tulsi. I really could not taste anything else, which was a bit disappointing. It left a nice and refreshing taste in my mouth, slightly cooling.
Ingredients: Kanchanjangha Verde, ginger, cinnamon leaf, orange peel, mint and lemongrass
Pricing: It is $26 for the sampler pack which comes with 11 samples of all of their blends and a homemade Mandala Bag. Each individual tea is about $12-$16 for 50 grams of loose leaf tea. Nepal Tea gave me a 15% off discount code “DR2021” for you to use ( I do not get anything from this code).
Packaging: The individual samples were able to keep very well in their mini-pouches and I enjoyed the Mandala bag that the teas were in as well.
Sourcing: Nepal Tea LLC has a lot of sourcing information (This is straight from their website). Their teas come from Kanchanjangha Tea Estate and Research Center Pvt. Ltd. (KTERC). KTERC is the first certified organic tea garden in Nepal that was established in 1984 by Mr. Deepak Prakash Baskota to rid his community of poverty. It remains a model social enterprise still today, that runs on cooperative infrastructure and is truly focused on the people and planet before profit.
Their tea garden is nestled in the foothills of Mt. Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world, in the eastern part of Nepal. Located precisely near the western borders of Darjeeling, India, and north of the Illam, the most famous tea-growing region in Nepal, their small village enjoys the best of both worlds. Situated at an altitude of 1300-1800 meters (4,200 – 6000 feet), the area enjoys pristine Himalayan climatic conditions to produce highly unique and aromatic teas.
Wow, that was a lot of samples! I first thought about splitting it up, but could never quite figure out how I wanted to do it. What do you think? Happy Brewing!