Kumari Gold Organic Black Tea From Nepal Tea

Today’s review will focus on the Kumari Gold Organic Black Tea from Nepal Tea. You can purchase 50 grams of this tea for USD $12.99 plus shipping from the Nepal Tea website.

I covered the positive impact that Nepal Tea, and Kanchanjangha Tea Estate, has had on their tea growing community in my previous reviews of their other products. Simply type “Nepal” into the search box and check out the other reviews.

Let’s get to the review…

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Kumari Gold Organic Black Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform dark charcoal gray color, while the buds have a pale yellow-gold color. A light fuzz can be seen on the golden buds. The blend consists mostly of what appears to be whole, unbroken leaves and buds, with the remainder being large leaf and bud fragments. The plucking standard shows one leaf and bud. There is also a large number of detached, but whole, leaves and buds. The leaves and buds are fully oxidized, and twisted. The appearance is very high quality, and attractive. The aroma is also very attractive, with fresh scents of malt, caramel, toasted oats, baked bread, and raisins.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a 7 ounce (210 mL) bizen ware kyusu teapot, and infused with 200°F (93°C) water for 3:00 minutes.

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Kumari Gold Organic Black Tea – Tea Liquid

The liquid has a beautiful, deep amber red color, clear and transparent. As the liquid cools, a light oily residue seems to appear on the surface. The aroma is quite potent, with scents of malt, caramel, baked bread, raisins, and a touch of roses. The body is full, with a layered, smooth texture. There is no astringency, and just a touch of bitterness. Some might describe the character of this tea as “biscuity”. The taste has notes of malt, caramel, raisins, light roses, and a touch of baked bread. The raisin sweetness and light rose notes carry into the aftertaste, and the lingering sweetness left on the breath is impressive.

This portion of leaves gave five impressive infusions. If I had more time, I am certain I could have pulled another two to three quality infusions from them.

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Kumari Gold Organic Black Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves and buds have a uniform copper brown color. The blend consists mostly of unbroken, whole, leaves and buds detached from one another. There are also some that are attached to a stem, showing a one leaf and bud pluck. The leaves appear to be quite young and tender, and are long and narrow in shape. They are very soft and smooth, yet hearty to the touch, meaning they are not easily falling apart or being torn. The leaves and buds are fully oxidized. The aroma of the infused leaves, even after five infusions, is very potent, with impressive scents of caramel, raisins, and roses.

The Kumari Gold Organic Black Tea is the exact type of tea that reviewers love to experience. Hours can easily be spent observing this tea. The appearance of the dry leaves, the beautiful color of the liquid, the aroma and taste, and the observation of the infused leaves, were all a pleasure to behold. The time and care put into creating this product can be seen at every stage of analysis. The sweet, fruity, and slightly floral aroma and taste of the tea is remarkable, and how it carries into the aftertaste is also noteworthy. This may be the most impressive tea I have had from this box of samples from Nepal Tea. This is a tea that I would proudly add to my personal collection.

Many thanks to the management of Nepal Tea and Kanchanjangha Tea Estate for providing this sample of Kumari Gold Organic Black Tea. Cheers!

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Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea From Nepal Tea

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…

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Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea – Dry Leaves

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.

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Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea – Liquid

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.

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Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea – Infused Leaves

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!

Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea from What-Cha

Today’s review will focus on the Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea, sourced by What-Cha from the Greenland Organic Farm in eastern Nepal. You may view and purchase this tea by visiting the What-Cha website.

I covered the Greenland Organic Farm in a previous post, Nepal First Flush 2014 Silver Oolong Tea. I would like to acknowledge What-Cha for the wide variety of teas from origins that you do not see being offered very often by other tea businesses. There are teas from Iran, Azerbaijan, Azores, Georgia, Russia, and in their Discover Europe Collection, a green tea from Turkey. A little more common, but not quite mainstream, are the teas from Malawi, Vietnam, South Korea, and Nepal. If you are getting a bit bored with the more mainstream Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and Ceylon teas, then What-Cha is a good source for the taste of an unfamiliar tea terroir.

The sample packet has been opened, and a swift punch of malt and cracked toasted grains just hit me in the nose. Is this a black tea or a homebrewing beer kit? Let the journey begin…

Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea Dry Leaves
Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves consist mostly of golden buds, with the remaining leaves being charcoal black. The buds are covered in fine golden hairs. The pluck is a fine leaf and bud. There are a few bare stems in the mix. Many of the buds and leaves are unbroken, and there are some fragments ranging in size from small to large. The buds and leaves appear to be twisted. The leaves have a smooth texture, and crack easily into coarse crumbs. The average length of the unbroken buds is just under one inch (25 mm). The smell is incredible and strong, with scents of malt, toasted grains, sweet hay, dandelion, and a touch of raw honey.

Three grams of dry leaves 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 infusions out of the same serving of leaves, and expect the second infusion to be lighter than the first, but still worth drinking. Add 1:00 minute to the second infusion steep time. A very light, yet refreshing, third infusion can be prepared.

Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea Liquor
Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea Liquor

The first infusion produced a liquor with a rich, golden orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of malt, toasted grains, honey, dandelion, sweet hay, and nectar. The body is medium-full, with a smooth, raw honey-like tongue coating texture. There is little astringency. The taste has notes of malt, toasted grains, honey, nectar, dandelion, and hay. The aftertaste carries the malt, nectar, and dandelion notes, and a lightly floral, sweet essence is left on the breath.

Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea Infused Leaves
Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform yellowish-brown color. There is a generous portion of whole, unbroken buds and leaves, along with some small to large sized fragments. There are a few bare stems in the mix. The pluck is one fine leaf and a bud. The buds have swollen some, and measure about one inch (25 mm) in length. The buds and leaves have a soft, smooth texture. The smell has scents of malt, toasted grains, dandelion, hay, and nectar.

The Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea is a rich, sweet smelling and tasting black tea that is very satisfying. Far from being overwhelming, this black tea needs no additives whatsoever to be fully enjoyed, but I can imagine that a small splash of coconut or almond milk may turn this tea into quite a treat. The malt character can be recognized at all phases of the experience, and the notes of toasted grains is a perfect compliment. If you are like me and enjoy a malty lager with dinner, this tea may be your new drink of choice at breakfast.

Many thanks to the management at What-Cha for providing this sample of Nepal Second Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea. Cheers!

SFTGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea from Shakira Tea Estate

Today’s review focuses on the SFTGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Tea from the Shakira Tea Estate in eastern Nepal. Formed in 2000 by a group of tea farmers, the Shakira Tea Estate is now known for the high quality orthodox teas that are produced there. Other than this basic information, I was not able to find much information on this estate.

The sample packet has been opened, and a sweet, floral scent is escaping the packet. Let the journey begin…

Shakira SFTGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea Dry Leaves
Shakira SFTGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves range in color from greenish-yellow to reddish-brown to black, with silver tips in the mix. There are some bare stems. The leaves are all medium sized fragments, and are machine rolled. The size of the fragments is quite consistent. The silver tips are also fragmented, and are covered in fine hairs. The stems show a two leaf pluck. The smell of the dry leaves carries scents of wild flowers, roses, candied dark cherries, dark chocolate, light hay, and wood.

Three grams of dry leaves 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 minutes. Expect two quality infusions out of the same serving of leaves. Add 1:00 minute to the second infusion steep time. The second infusion will be notably lighter in character than the first.

Shakira SFTGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea Infusion
Shakira SFTGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a golden-orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of wild flowers, roses, honey, tart cherries, hay, and wood. The body is medium, with a mouth-filling, lively texture. There is a brisk quality that I have not found in most Nepal teas. The taste has notes of wild flowers, roses, dark chocolate, tart cherries, honey, hay, vanilla, and wood. There is a modest astringency. The aftertaste carries the notes of wood and hay, and a sweet, lightly floral essence can be felt on the breath.

Shakira SFTGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea Infused Leaves
Shakira SFTGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves range in color from greenish-brown to reddish-brown. All leaves and tips are medium sized fragments. There are some bare stems in the mix. The leaves have a soft, smooth texture. The smell has scents of cocoa, flowers, wood, vanilla, cherries, and honey.

The Shakira SFTGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea had some unique qualities, and a nice blend of aromas and flavors. Notably, the brisk character of the tea was unique and, being an admirer of the brisk quality of Ceylon and high grown South India teas, allowed me to enjoy this tea on another level. Although I do admit that when it comes to Nepal teas, there are other products that I prefer over this one. This is a good quality tea, no doubt, and I have nothing specific to say in terms of negative opinions. I enjoyed the experience, and will be happy to experience it again.

Thank you to Ankit Lochan at Surajmukhi Tea Company for providing this sample of Shakira SFTGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea. Cheers!

Khima FTGFOP1 Wonder 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea from the Khima Tea Estate

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…

Khima FTGFOP1 Wonder 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea Dry Leaves
Khima FTGFOP1 Wonder 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea Dry Leaves

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.

Khima FTGFOP1 Wonder 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea Infusion
Khima FTGFOP1 Wonder 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea Infusion

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.

Khima FTGFOP1 Wonder 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea Infused Leaves
Khima FTGFOP1 Wonder 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea Infused Leaves

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!

Kanyam SFTGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea from Surajmukhi Tea

Moving right along through the samples of high quality orthodox teas from Nepal, I have come to the SFTGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 tea from Kanyam Tea Estate. This sample was provided by Surajmukhi Tea.

The Kanyam Tea Estate is located in the Ilam District of eastern Nepal, a short two kilometers from the Darjeeling district of India.The estate consists of a total area of 240 hectares (about 593 acres), of which 200 hectares (494 acres) is dedicated to tea cultivation. The tea estate itself is situated at an altitude around 6,000 feet (1,828 meters) above sea level. The Kanyam Tea Factory is situated at an altitude of about 5,500 feet (1,675 meters) above sea level. The Kanyam Tea Factory produces an annual output of about 125,000 kilograms of high quality orthodox teas.

The sample packet has been opened, and a candy-sweet aroma is filling the air. Let the journey begin…

Kanyam SFTGFOP1 2nd Flush Nepal Tea Dry Leaves
Kanyam SFTGFOP1 2nd Flush Nepal Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in color from light green to light brown to reddish-purple to black, with a generous amount of silver tips covered in fine hairs. The leaves are medium to large fragments, and are rolled. The pluck is two leaves and a bud. There are a few bare stems in the mix. The leaves have a dry, rigid texture. The aroma is very sweet, with scents of ripe red grapes, ripe cherries, sugar candy, autumn leaves, flowers, and potpourri. As usual for the high quality orthodox teas from Nepal, the aroma of this Kanyam SFTGFOP1 is highly impressive.

Three grams of dry leaves 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 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 195°F (90°C). Steep the leaves for 3:30 minutes. Expect two quality infusions from the same serving of leaves. Add an additional minute to the steep time for the second infusion, for a total of 4:30 minutes. The second infusion will be lighter in character than the first.

Kanyam SFTGFOP1 2nd Flush Nepal Tea Infusion
Kanyam SFTGFOP1 2nd Flush Nepal Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright orange-red color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of grapes, grapefruit, raw cacao, roses, autumn leaves, and cinnamon. The body is medium-full, with a lively texture, and a noticeably uplifting energy. The taste has notes of grapes, grapefruit, roses, light malt, raw cacao, and cinnamon. There is a very mild astringency, and a pleasant bitterness that balances well with the sweet tastes. The aftertaste is sweet and lightly spicy (cinnamon), which translates into a sweetly floral essence left on the breath. From color to taste, this infusion is just as impressive as the aroma of the dry leaves.

Kanyam SFTGFOP1 2nd Flush Nepal Tea Infused Leaves
Kanyam SFTGFOP1 2nd Flush Nepal Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a fairly uniform copper brown color, some leaning to greenish-brown. The leaves are all medium to large fragments. There are no whole and unbroken leaves, but plenty of whole buds, and a few bare stems in the mix. The leaves have a smooth and slightly leathery texture. The aroma maintains the sweet scents of grapes, cherries, candy, flowers, and potpourri.

It is hard to imagine that the popularity of high quality orthodox teas from Nepal is not on the verge of skyrocketing. I understand there are some socio-political roadblocks that are not allowing the industry to fully blossom, and I truly hope that the government, tea industry leaders, and the workers of Nepal can find a mutually beneficial solution to these problems. The high quality products are certainly there! The Kanyam SFTGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 is another shining example of the beautiful and highly impressive tea products being produced in eastern Nepal. The aroma of the dry leaves has certainly left a lasting mark in my memory. The bright color of the liquor, the aroma, the lively texture, the uplifting energy, and the beautifully balanced taste certainly sealed a highly favorable opinion of this tea. I am starting to see the bottom of this package of Nepal tea samples, and I am a little depressed by that fact. These teas are incredible! If you haven’t tried a tea from Nepal, and I mean any high quality orthodox tea, then you need to find one and buy it now! Shameless Plug Alert: The Tea Journeyman Shop currently offers the Kanchenjunga Green Tea from Kanchanjangha Tea Estate! Why not start your Nepal tea experience with my favorite green tea from this emerging market!

Thanks to Ankit Lochan from Surajmukhi Tea for providing these incredible samples of tea from Kanyam Tea Estate. Cheers!

Khima FTGFOP1 CH Hand Rolled 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea from Surajmukhi Tea

Of the many descriptive phrases and terms used to name tea products, the phrase “hand rolled” in a product name always gets me excited. As I peruse the package of Nepal tea samples from Surajmukhi Tea, I see one product with this special phrase in the title. Today’s review will focus on the Khima FTGFOP1 (CH) Hand Rolled 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea.

Much of the tea growing in Nepal occurs in the eastern part of the country, such as Kanchanjangha, Mist Valley, and Pathivara estates. Similarly, this tea is grown and manufactured on the eastern Nepal slopes opposite of the Thurbo Tea Estate in the Darjeeling region of India. The tea bushes grown here are Chinese clonals. This appears to be a very difficult to find tea. In fact, I cannot find a single retailer in North America who offers teas from this factory (at least under the name Khima). That fact always makes me curious. Either this is a hidden gem of a tea, or there is a quality related reason as to why I cannot find it in North America.

With that being said, let’s get started. The sample packet has been opened, and I am immediately leaning toward the hidden gem of a tea theory. Let the journey begin…

Khima FTGFOP1 (CH) 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea Dry Leaves
Khima FTGFOP1 (CH) 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves range in color from bright green to reddish-brown to black. There is a respectable amount of silver tips. The pluck is one leaf and bud. The leaves are large fragments and whole leaves. The leaves are hand rolled, and have a very high quality appearance. The aroma is simply incredible, with strong scents of dried cherries and grapes, sweet cocoa, and honey. Impressed is a gross understatement of my opinion about the aroma of these leaves.

Three grams of dry leaves 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 195°F to 205°F (90°C to 96°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 minutes. Two quality infusions can be expected from the same serving of leaves. Add one minute to the steep time of the second infusion, and expect it to have an overall lighter character than the first infusion.

Khima FTGFOP1 (CH) 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea Infusion
Khima FTGFOP1 (CH) 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright golden-yellow color, clear and transparent. This liquor is much lighter in color than most other second flush teas from Nepal and Darjeeling that I have had. The color is more similar to a first flush product. The aroma has strong scents of valley flowers, honey, cherries and grapes, and light hay. The body is medium, with a gentle, smooth texture. The taste has notes of valley flowers, light sweet cocoa, light cherry and grape, and light honey. There is a mild astringency. The aftertaste has hints of honey and flowers, and lingers on the breath for a respectable time.

Khima FTGFOP1 (CH) 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea Infused Leaves
Khima FTGFOP1 (CH) 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves range in color from fresh forest green to greenish-brown. The leaves are mostly large fragments, with a respectable amount of whole leaves and tips. The pluck is one leaf and bud. There are very few bare stems in the mix. The leaves are long and narrow, consistent with the Chinese Clonal bush. The leaves have a smooth, thin texture. The aroma is again incredibly sweet and attractive, with scents of black licorice, cherries, light sweet cocoa, and light flowers.

Overall, the Khima FTGFOP1 (CH) 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Tea was truly a pleasure to experience. This tea had much in common with Darjeeling first flush teas in the dominantly floral aroma and taste, the light color of the infusion, and the medium body. One thing I really enjoy about the Nepal teas is that I find more of a cherry hint in the aroma and taste, while Darjeeling teas have the renowned grape taste. The difference is very subtle, but it is certainly there. Although I did get some grape hints as well as the cherry hints in this particular product. The aroma of the dry leaves and infused leaves has left a very positive mark on my memory, since both aromas were remarkably sweet and attractive. The appearance is high quality, and the hand-plucked, hand rolled processing is easy to distinguish. This is another amazing product from Nepal, and the teas from this country never cease to impress me.

Thanks again to the management team at Surajmukhi Tea for providing this phenomenal tea sample! Cheers!

 

Kanchan Gold Tea from Mount Kanchenjunga in Nepal

Here is a tea that has been begging for a review since the moment I received the package of samples from Mount Kanchenjunga in Nepal. This review focuses on the Kanchan Gold Tea.

The sample packet has been opened, and this tea looks like the more well known golden teas from the Yunnan Province of China. I haven’t had anything like this in a few months. Let the journey begin…

Kanchan Gold Tea Dry Leaves
Kanchan Gold Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a dark brownish-black color with a generous amount of golden tips. The leaves appear to be mostly whole leaves, with some large fragments, and buds. There are no bare stems in the mix. The leaves are lightly twisted. The leaves and buds are covered in delicate golden hairs. A fine leaf and bud pluck is displayed on some stems. The aroma is sweet and strong, with scents of malt, brown sugar, and roses.

Nine grams of dry leaves were placed in an eighteen ounce (530 ml) cast-iron teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 195°F (90°C). The leaves were infused for three minutes, with thirty seconds being added to each subsequent infusion.

Kanchan Gold Tea 1st Infusion
Kanchan Gold Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, golden-orange color with red tint, clear and transparent. The aroma had dominant scents of malt and roses. The body is full, with a lively, almost sharp texture. The taste has notes of roses, malt, and light jasmine. The aftertaste is lightly sweet (malt), with a pleasant floral essence.

Kanchan Gold Tea 2nd Infusion
Kanchan Gold Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a noticeably lighter color of golden orange, with a very slight red tint. The aroma has lightened, and the scent of roses is dominant, with a light malt scent remaining. The body has lightened to medium, and the texture is not as lively and sharp. The taste has lightened, and notes of roses and light jasmine are outweighing the now light malt note. The aftertaste is lighter, and the floral essence has dissipated some.

Kanchan Gold Tea 3rd Infusion
Kanchan Gold Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with a lighter color of golden orange than the second infusion, and almost no reddish tint. The aroma has lightened again, and is almost entirely floral (rose). The body remains medium. The taste has lightened again, and is dominated by light rose and light jasmine notes. The malt note is very light. I would not expect a fourth infusion to produce much aroma or flavor.

Kanchan Gold Tea Infused Leaves
Kanchan Gold Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform copper-brown color. The leaves are mostly whole, with a generous portion of mature buds, and few large leaf fragments. The pluck is one fine and a fairly mature bud. The leaves have an average length between 0.75″ (19 mm) and 1.25″ (32 mm). The aroma has scents of wet roses, forest floor, and what seems to be a light cherry scent. There is also a light touch of spice in the aroma.

Many of the characteristics of this tea were similar to the golden teas of the Yunnan region. The color of the liquor, the appearance of the leaves in both dry and infused form, and the general size and shape of the teas leaves were all similar to some high grade Yunnan black teas that I have had. What was unique about the Kanchan Gold was the obvious scent of roses, and touch of jasmine. The three teas that I have had from Mount Kanchenjunga all seem to have that rose and jasmine scent and taste. This tea has plenty of the good qualities of a Yunnan black tea, and a touch of individuality. For the common tea drinker, the difference may not even be noticeable between this Mount Kanchenjunga gold tea and a Yunnan black tea. For the more experienced enthusiast, this is a nice, subtle change of pace.

Thanks to Niru Trading for providing this sample of Kanchan Gold Tea. The teas of Mount Kanchenjunga have been a great experience so far, and I still have two products to try out. Cheers!

SFTGFOP Black Tea from Mount Kanchenjunga in Nepal

Today’s review will focus on the Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (SFTGFOP) Black Tea, sourced from the foothills of Mount Kanchenjunga in Nepal. This tea appears to processed in a very similar manner to Darjeeling second flush teas.

Let the journey begin…

Mt. Kanchengjunga SFTGFOP Black Tea Dry Leaves
Mt. Kanchenjunga SFTGFOP Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in color, with a few being a bright green, some being reddish, while the majority are dark brown and black. There is a generous amount of silver tips in the mix. The leaves are all small to medium fragments, and rolled. Again, the appearance is very similar to a Darjeeling second flush. The aroma is very pleasant, with strong scents of cocoa, cherry, and a lightly floral hint.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) ceramic infusion cup. Purified spring water was heated to 195°F (90°C). The leaves were infused for three minutes.

Mt. Kanchenjunga SFTGFOP Black Tea 1st Infusion
Mt. Kanchenjunga SFTGFOP Black Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright amber-orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma fills the room with scents of roses, cocoa, and light cherries. The body is medium-full, with a lively, mouth-filling texture. The taste is very floral, with strong notes of roses, slightly lighter jasmine, with softer notes of cocoa and cherries. The aftertaste is sweet and floral, and a lingering flowery essence can be felt on the breath.

Mt. Kanchenjunga SFTGFOP Black Tea 2nd Infusion
Mt. Kanchenjunga SFTGFOP Black Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a lighter shade of amber-orange color. The aroma has lightened some, but retains a dominantly floral character, with very light scents of cocoa. The body has lightened some. The taste has also lightened, with the floral notes remaining dominant, but the cocoa note seems to be more recognizable in the second infusion. The aftertaste is floral, and the essence has lost some strength, but is still present.

Mt. Kanchenjunga SFTGFOP Black Tea 3rd Infusion
Mt. Kanchenjunga SFTGFOP Black Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with a slightly lighter shade of golden orange color. The aroma lightened some from the second infusion, and remains dominantly floral, with a touch of cocoa. The body and taste also lightened. The taste remains mostly floral, and the cocoa note has lightened but is still recognizable.

Mt. Kanchenjunga SFTGFOP Black Tea Infused Leaves
Mt. Kanchenjunga SFTGFOP Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves vary in color from dark green, light to dark brown, and black. All leaves are small to medium fragments. There are some small bare stems in the mix. Stems show a two leaf and bud pluck. There are a generous amount of tips in the mix. The aroma has scents of cocoa, roses, and light cherries.

I am hoping to have a sample or two remaining of a second flush Darjeeling tea from 2013. I would like to find the time to compare this Nepal SFTGFOP with a similar grade Darjeeling second flush. The primary difference between the two, as far as I was able to tell, is that the Nepal tea had more of a cherry taste than a grape taste, like a Darjeeling. The floral rose and jasmine notes are very similar to a Darjeeling. The combination of cocoa and cherries made the aroma and taste of this tea very comforting. I am looking forward to comparing these teas side by side with some Darjeeling varieties. The side by side comparisons tell the real stories of each tea.

Have a nice weekend everyone. Pittsburgh will finally have some spring temperatures, so I will be outside preparing my flowers beds for more friendly weather. My roses will be given steeped tea leaves for some nutritional benefit, and I will be happy drinking more tea to provide more food for the roses. Cheers!