Today’s review will focus on the Khima FTGFOP1 Wonder 2nd Flush Nepal Tea. The estate producing this tea is located in eastern Nepal, on the opposing hill slopes of the Thurbo Tea Estate in Darjeeling, India. Sadly, aside from this basic description of where the factory is located, I am having a very difficult time finding other information on the Khima Tea Estate. If anyone reading this cares to share an informational source on Khima, please contact me so that I may provide additional details of this estate and factory to my readers.
UPDATE: I was contacted by Mr. Rajiv Lochan who provided me with some information related to Khima Tea Estate. This estate is also known as Chabbesey Tea Estate. The land owner, Mr. Subba, wanted to call the estate Khima after his mother’s name. However, the estate is located near the 26th border post between India and Nepal, thus the name Chabbesey (or “26”) has been used to identify this estate. The plantation consists of 20 acres, and is located near some well known Darjeeling estates such as Seeyok, Thurbo, and Okyati. Currently, the only tea company that I have seen offering any products from Chabbesey (Khima) is Tealet, but I am not sure if they have the product for same right now or not. Thank you, Mr. Rajiv Lochan, for the information on Chabbesey (Khima) Tea Estate!
The sample packet has been opened, and the sweet scent and number of silver tips are catching my attention. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves vary in color from pale dark green to light brown to copper brown to black, with a generous portion of silver buds. The leaves are all large fragments, and I expect to find a few whole leaves in the mix. There are a few bare stems. The silver buds are covered in soft, downy-like white hairs. The leaves are rolled, and I am assuming that the rolling was done mechanically. The stems show a pluck of two leaves and a bud. The leaves have a dry, rigid texture. The smell carries scents of vanilla, light sweet wood, dry cherries, light roses, and light earth (forest floor).
Three grams were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.
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 205°F (96°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 to 4:00 minutes. Expect two quality infusions from the same serving of leaves. Add 1:00 of steep time to the second infusion, and expect it to be noticeably lighter in all respects.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, golden yellow color, perfectly clear and transparent, with very few fine particles. The aroma has scents of wild valley flowers, tart cherries, honey, and very light wood. The body is medium, with a silky texture that coats the tongue like honey. The taste has notes of wild valley flowers and light roses, vanilla, honey, light wood, light mineral, and touches of light steamed spinach and squash. The aftertaste carries the squash note and lighter notes of vanilla and flowers. A light flowery essence lingers on the breath.
The infused leaves vary in color from dark forest green to copper brown. The leaves are mostly large fragments, and there is a respectable amount of whole leaves and buds in the mix. There are a few bare stems which show a two leaf and bud pluck. There are green leaves that have reddish edges, indicating that these leaves are not fully oxidized, and thus this tea cannot be classified as a true black tea. The leaves have a thin, moist, smooth, leathery feel. The largest whole leaf measures about two inches (56 mm) in length, and just under an inch (25 mm) in width. The smell carries scents of vanilla, wild valley flowers, squash, light wood, honey, and light tart cherries.
The Khima FTGFOP1 Wonder 2nd Flush 2014 Tea from Khima Tea Estate in Nepal is a respectable product. The appearance and smell of the dry leaves all showed comparable quality to good FTGFOP1 products from Darjeeling. The first infusion had a bright, uplifting color, and a honey-like smoothness. The tea liquor had a specific vanilla character in the aroma and taste. There is a nice amount of unbroken leaves and buds, indicating a high level of care taken during the plucking and production processes. I do not have any less than positive opinions on this tea.
Thanks to Ankit Lochan at Surajmukhi Tea for providing this sample of Khima FTGFOP1 Wonder 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea. Cheers!