I have to admit that I have samples from a few vendors waiting for review, but I am having a hard time pulling myself away from the box of samples from Nepal. I have yet to find a Nepal tea that I have not been and impressed with and thoroughly enjoyed. This is definitely a region that I will be keeping an eye, as I expect the popularity of Nepal teas to increase exponentially as more consumers get to try these amazing products.
Today’s review will focus on the Khima FTGFOP1 2nd Flush Nepal Green Tea. This sample was provided by Surajmukhi Tea. The estate producing this tea is located in eastern Nepal, on the opposing hill slopes of the Thurbo Tea Estate in Darjeeling, India.
The sample packet has been opened, and if you put these dry tea leaves in front of me, then a box of dark chocolate covered cherries, I would probably not be able to tell them apart. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves range in color from bright green to very dark green (almost black), and a few brown. There are some silver tips in the mix, as well as some stems. The leaves are all medium sized fragments, and are machine rolled. I am not convinced that this is a true green tea, not to take anything away from the overall quality of the product itself. The aroma is incredibly attractive, with dominant scents of sweetened dark chocolate, ripe dark cherries, and a very light touch of dried cayenne or chili peppers. This is a very impressive aroma!
Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for 3:00 minutes.
I prepared this sample using the parameters that are appropriate for an evaluation of a true green tea. I will also prepare a separate sample using 205°F (96°C) water and a 4:00 minute infusion time to gauge the level of bitterness and other undesirable effects that result. This will help determine whether this is a true green tea or not. I will report my findings at the bottom of the this review. At that time, I will also provide my suggestions for at home preparation.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a pale golden-yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of cocoa, cherry, and light grass. The body is light-medium, with a clean, smooth texture. The taste has notes of dark chocolate, cherries, and grass. There is a mild astringency to the tea. The aftertaste is sweet and grassy, and a sweet yet light floral essence can be felt on the breath.
The infused leaves range in color from fresh forest green to dark forest green to greenish-brown. The leaves are all medium sized fragments, with some unbroken tips in the mix, and some smaller stem fragments. The leaves have a soft, smooth, delicate texture. The aroma maintains the scents of dark chocolate, cherries, and a light grass hint.
Using the 205°F (96°C) water and a 4:00 minute infusion time, the tea has a darker golden-yellow color. The aroma is not as pleasant. The taste is certainly more bitter, and the dark chocolate note is more of woody note. The aftertaste is quite bitter. Although I am still not fully convinced that this is a true green tea in the traditional definition of the word, I am convinced that using green tea steeping parameters is the best method of extracting the most favorable characteristics from these leaves.
Therefore, my suggestion for at home preparation is to use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 175°F (75°C). Steep the leaves for 2:00 minutes. Expect to get two infusions out of the same serving of leaves, with the second infusion being overall lighter in character than the first infusion.
The teas coming from this tea estate in eastern Nepal have the amazing quality of offering strong scents and tastes of dark chocolate and cherries. I would almost describe these products as desert teas. The visual aspect of the dry leaves is not as impressive as the aromas and tastes, having the general look of other Darjeeling second flush teas. As a basis for comparison, my favorite green tea out of Nepal comes from the Kanchanjangha Tea Estate. Although that green tea is not as sweet, and instead is more floral, the dry leaves have a very high quality appearance, and consist of large leaf fragments, whole leaves, and impressive tips. It is my humble opinion that if Nepal tea producers want to compete and gain market share on their Darjeeling (and other) competitors, then they may want to consider diversifying the appearance of the teas. Of course, if improving the appearance translates into lower quality aromas and tastes, then appearance should not be the priority.
Do not forget that the green tea from Kanchanjangha Tea Estate is available for purchase at The Tea Journeyman Shop! Click here to check it out!
Overall, this Khima FTGFOP1 Nepal Green Tea was an impressive product! If you like chocolate covered cherries, then you will absolutely love this tea. At least you don’t have to worry about the calorie counting while indulging in this treat!
Thanks to Ankit Lochan at Surajmukhi Tea for providing these incredible samples from Nepal, Assam, and Darjeeling. Cheers!