Nepal Teas: A new tea journey
Tea plantation in Nepal began in the same decade as in the hills of Darjeeling. But a lot of external factors didn’t favor its nurturing and growth. Only recently has Nepal been able to produce tea consistently and with that been improving the quality of its produce.
Guaranse and Ilam teas have become premium names, with first rate teas from Antu Valley, Kanyam, and other regions too.
Nepal Tea Traders: Smallholders
One of the most distinctive features of the Nepal tea industry is that it is almost entirely comprised of smallholders, with the average size of a farm less than an acre. Whereas the adjoining Darjeeling estates almost all have their own processing factory, Nepal’s production centers on regional factories buying in leaf. This gives them many cost advantages.
Nepal black tea is very good indeed. It is not quite the same in taste as Darjeeling, though many experts claim that except for the very best and most expensive Darjeelings, Nepal tea gardens are offering attractive and less expensive complements that are typically slightly softer and a little woodier.
Guranse estate is the center of the development of the new Nepal tea industry and is in the forefront of techniques. All the fresh Nepal teas produced are also organic. The bushes are grown from clones, not seeds. It is experimenting with varietals from young Darjeeling mother bushes that are robust, disease resistant and flavorful.
The superlative green
Just within the past five years Nepal green teas have been of superior quality that are more Japanese in style than the traditional Chinese. If anything, they are ahead of the more established Darjeeling producers. Japanese greens have an extra zip and very clean taste that is more appealing than the somewhat more bitter and watery greens of China.