Happy New Year, fellow tea lovers! I trust that everyone had a safe and merry holiday season. For those of you in the eastern United States, a good pot of hot tea should help get us through an exceptionally cold start to the 2018 year.
I guess the question as to which tea I am starting the year with was given away in this blog post title. My first review of the 2018 year will be focused on the Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea courtesy of Nepal Tea, sourced from the Kanchanjangha Tea Estate in Nepal.
In my review of the Silver Yeti White Tea from Nepal Tea and Kanchanjangha Tea Estate (KTE), I provided some general information on KTE. For this post, I want to highlight some of ways that Nepal Tea and KTE are not just providing us tea drinkers with sensational products, but also helping the tea farmers in their local communities have a higher quality of life. Click on each of the project names below to read more about each initiative.
Community enhancement projects include the Cow Bank Project, where you can “donate” a cow to a farmer on the estate. This not only provides the farmer and their family with nourishment through gathering the cow’s milk, but also allows them to make some extra money by selling extra milk to other villagers, and selling dung to KTE for use as fertilizer. Learn more about this project, the contributions made by KTE to get it started, and how you can help move it forward, by clicking the link above.
You can also sponsor a child’s education through the Scholarship Project. Through Nepal Tea and KTE’s “Adopt From Abroad” Program, you can give a young child in the small farming community the opportunity to attend the local English boarding school and community school for one year. This is an opportunity that may be missed for many young children in the Panchthar District without generous support from our tea community. As of today, 2,300 children have already been supported through this initiative, and 93 are currently benefiting from the program. Anyone want to join me in getting a GoFundMe project running?
KTE also has a Free Housing Program, a Farmer’s Co-Op, and is proactive in health and sanitation initiatives, as well as providing enhanced maternity benefits. With this level of support for the local farmers, the tea labor industry may begin to build a more positive reputation. This is a model that should be replicated across all tea growing communities.
Want to support Nepal Tea and Kanchanjangha Tea Estate, and taste an amazing black tea? You can purchase 50 grams (1.7 ounces) of this Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea for USD $9.99 from the Nepal Tea website.
Let’s get to the review…
The dry leaves vary in color from pale light brown to copper red to dark charcoal grey, with a generous amount of silver-gold tips. There are a few bare stems in the mix. The blend consists of medium to large size leaf and bud fragments. I do not expect to find any unbroken leaves in the mix. The leaves are machine rolled. The overall appearance is similar to that of second flush teas from Darjeeling. The aroma has fresh scents of dried rose petals, raw cacao, and dried tart cherries.
Eight grams of dry leaves were placed in an eighteen ounce (530 mL) cast iron tetsubin teapot, and infused with 200°F (93°C) water for 4:00 minutes.
The liquid has a bright, orange-red color. The aroma has inviting scents of roses, tart cherries, and raw cacao. The body is medium-full, with a clean, lively texture. There is a touch of bitterness, and the character is lightly brisk. The taste continues the notes of roses, tart cherries, and raw cacao. The aftertaste is lightly sweet with a hint of roses, and leaves a dry effect on the tongue.
The infused leaves vary in color from dark green-brown to dark copper-brown. The blend consists of medium to large size leaf and bud fragments, and a few bare stems. The leaves, after two infusions, have the texture of thin, somewhat dry leather. The oxidation level on the leaves is not 100%, as with many styles of black tea. Again, this product seems to be styled after the second flush Darjeeling tea. The aroma of the infused leaves is fruity and floral, with scents of roses, cherries, and a touch of raw cacao.
In a year that saw second flush teas from Darjeeling become nearly non-existent, this Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea is a very worthy replacement for those tea drinkers who have a special place in their hearts for Darjeeling tea. The scents and tastes of roses and raw cacao is reminiscent of second flush Darjeeling teas, and the tart cherry notes are just a small tweak from the muscatel notes famously found in the Darjeeling teas. This Nepal black tea has a touch of briskness, however, that I do not find in Darjeeling teas, and I personally enjoyed it. Even in a normal year that finds Darjeeling second flush teas in full production, this Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea is a nice twist on a popular style of tea. It certainly deserves the same respect and recognition as that given to the popular second flush teas of Darjeeling.
Many thanks to Nepal Tea and Kanchanjangha Tea Estate for providing this sample of Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea! And also many thanks for the positive social impact that they are making on the communities that help bring us this fantastic product!
Cheers, and the best of health and prosperity to everyone in the 2018 year!