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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White Prakash Organic White Tea From Nepal Tea

Today, I will be focusing my attention to the White Prakash Organic White Tea from Nepal Tea, sourced from the Kanchanjangha Tea Estate in Nepal. You can purchase 50 grams of this tea for $12.99 USD from the Nepal Tea website.

I have provided many details of Kanchanjangha Tea Estate and Nepal Tea in my previous reviews of the Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea and the Silver Yeti White Tea. Check out those reviews to learn more about the estate, and the good works being done in that community.

Let’s get to the review…

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White Prakash Organic White Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in color widely, from pale, light green to red-brown to nearly black. There is a generous portion of fuzzy, silver-white buds in the mix. The leaves appear to consist of unbroken leaves and buds still attached to the stem, as well as some detached whole leaves and buds, and some large sized leaf and bud fragments. The pluck appears to be mostly one leaf and a fairly mature bud, or a single mature bud with no leaf. The leaves are lightly rolled, and are rather light and fluffy. The leaves have gone through the standard white tea processing method of being naturally withered, then dried, with no roasting or firing of any kind. The aroma has fresh scents of vanilla, raw pastry dough, cream, and a touch of dried wild flowers. The aroma has a luxurious character.

Eight grams of dry leaves were placed in an eighteen ounce (530 ml) cast-iron tetsubin teapot, and infused with 185°F (85°C) water for 3:00 minutes. an additional minute was added to the time on the second infusion.

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White Prakash Organic White Tea – Liquid

The liquid has a bright, gold-yellow color. The aroma has scents of spring flowers, vanilla, and lighter touches of hay and cream or butter. The body is medium, with a smooth, layered texture, and a calming, revitalizing energy. There is no bitterness or astringency whatsoever. The taste has notes of spring flowers, vanilla, and touches of sweet hay and butter. The aftertaste carries a light floral and vanilla character. This light floral and sweet aftertaste has a very nice linger time on the breath.

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White Prakash Organic White Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves vary in color from pale forest green dark forest green to copper-brown. The copper brown areas of the leaves reflect the natural oxidation that occurs in the leaves during withering. The leaves are fairly young and tender, with the larger leaves measuring just over one inch (25 mm) in length. There is a generous amount of fairly mature buds, mostly unbroken and whole, but some large fragments. There are no bare stems. The leaves are about half unbroken and whole, and half medium to large fragments. Again, the pluck shows a one leaf and bud pluck, or bud only pluck, and some leaves are detached from stems. After two infusions, the leaves are rather delicate, and very smooth to the touch. The aroma has scents of spring flowers and vanilla.

The White Prakash Organic White Tea is a beautiful example of this style of tea. The presence of leaves and buds, rather than the silver needle (silver tips) styles of white tea, gives this style of white tea a more rounded, fuller taste than the fairly mild and delicate character of the silver needle style. I really enjoyed the dominant scents and flavors of spring flowers and vanilla in the liquid. The aroma of the dry leaves was also incredible, with a unique scent of raw pastry dough, which gave it a nicely balanced sweetness, and complimented the vanilla scent very effectively. Although the leaves felt rather delicate after two infusions, there was much aroma and taste in the second infusion. I am confident that they could easily give a good quality third infusion, and perhaps a decent fourth infusion. The number of infusions always has a direct relationship with perceiving  how worthy of the price tag a tea is. This tea is worth the price tag.

Thanks again to the management at Nepal Tea and Kanchanjangha Tea Estate for providing this sample of White Prakash Organic White Tea. Cheers!

Shangri-La Organic Oolong Tea From Nepal Tea

Circling back around to the samples from Nepal Tea, the packet of Shangri-La Oolong Tea caught my attention. A few years have passed since I last reviewed an oolong from Nepal, so it’s time to get reacquainted.

You can get acquainted with the Shangri-La Oolong Tea for USD $11.99. At the time, this is only available in pyramid teabags. The loose leaf form should be back in stock soon. Who says you can’t tear open that pyramid bag and drop the leaves in your preferred brewing vessel?

I have covered quite a bit of information on Nepal Tea in my previous reviews of the Organic Silver Yeti White Tea and the Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea. Check out those reviews for information on Nepal Tea and Kanchanjangha Tea Estate, and the good they do for their local tea growing communities in Nepal.

Let’s get to the review…

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Shangri-La Organic Oolong Tea – Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform pale charcoal grey color, with a few small golden tips in the mix, and no obvious bare stems. The leaves also have a uniform shape and size, appearing to consist mostly of detached whole leaves and large fragments. I am having trouble deciding if I think these leaves are twisted, rolled, or a combination of both. Not that this observation takes away from the overall high quality of the appearance. Generally speaking, the teas from Nepal that I have come across are usually machine rolled, and look similar to Darjeeling teas. But this tea definitely has a unique appearance. The leaves and buds still attached to stems show a superfine plucking standard of one leaf and bud. The color of the leaves indicates a heavier oxidation level, but not full oxidation. The aroma has scents of dark chocolate, malt, dry wood, and dry cherries.

Eight grams of dry leaves were placed in an 18 ounce (530 mL) cast-iron tetsubin teapot, and infused with 190°F (88°C) water for 3:00 minutes.

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Shangri-La Organic Oolong Tea – Liquid

The liquid has a beautiful, rich gold-red-orange color. The aroma has scents of malt, grapes, and lighter scents of black pepper, licorice, and pine wood. The body is full, with a fluffy, biscuit-like texture. There is a light briskness, a very light and smooth bitterness, and very little astringency. The taste reflects the aroma very closely, with notes of malt, grapes, black pepper, and lighter notes of licorice and pine wood. The aftertaste is lightly sweet and spicy, and a peppery feeling is left on the tongue.

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Shangri-La Organic Oolong Tea – Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform copper brown color. Again, some of the leaves look twisted, while others look machine rolled. The leaves are mostly detached whole leaves and large fragments. There are a few detached bud fragments, and a few pickings showing a superfine one leaf and bud plucking standard. There are no totally bare stems. The leaves have a soft, smooth, leathery texture, but also have a rather durable feel, like they can stand up to several rounds of infusion. This photo was taken after the second use of the leaves. The leaves are long and fairly narrow, evidence of the use of Chinese clonal tea bushes, also found commonly growing in Darjeeling. The scent has notes of malt, grapes. and a touch of licorice.

The Shangri-La Organic Oolong Tea from Nepal Tea is not your typical oolong tea. Although having more similarities to a Darjeeling second flush tea than some of the more well known oolongs of China, this tea has a very distinct set of qualities. Namely, the mouth feel of this tea is remarkable. From the fluffy, biscuity texture to the peppery feel that lingers on the tongue, these are not qualities that I experience often. The nicely balanced sweet and spicy tastes blend beautifully with the light brisk quality, and smooth bitterness. Combine the interesting physical characteristics of this tea with the fact that it is organically produced, and you have a product that deserves to be experienced by any level of tea enthusiast (including those who prefer the convenience of teabags!)

Thanks again to Nepal Tea and Kanchanjangha Tea Estate for their generosity in offering this sample of Shangri-La Oolong Tea. Cheers!

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!

Organic Silver Yeti White Tea From Nepal Tea

A Christmas miracle arrived at my office a few days ago, and few things can lift my excitement to such a level as this. A package from a relatively new tea company named Nepal Tea. As you can probably guess from the company name, Nepal Tea specializes in offering organic teas from Nepal. Today’s review will be focusing on the Silver Yeti White Tea, which can currently be purchased from Nepal Tea for USD $14.99 and includes one ounce of the tea.

It has been a few years since I had a nice assortment of various styles of tea from Nepal, and this sample package definitely offers an interesting assortment. Upon further research, I found out that these teas are actually sourced from one of the tea estates in Nepal that I was offering through my online tea shop. The estate is Kanchanjangha Tea Estate (KTE). KTE was the first organic certified estate in Nepal, and is the only tea estate in Nepal certified as Free Trade.

Nestled in the foothills of Mount Kanchenjunga, with an elevation ranging from 1,300 meters to 1,800 meters (4,200 feet to 5,900 feet) above sea level, Kanchanjangha Tea Estate consists of about 94 hectares of land under tea cultivation. It is located in Ranitar, Panchthar District, Nepal. The map below shows the location of Ranitar.

Kanchanjangha Tea Estate does more than just produce excellent quality Nepal teas. It is also a great partner for the estate workers. I will provide more details on that partnership in my next Nepal Tea product review.

For now, let’s get to the review…

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Silver Yeti White Tea – Dry Leaves (or buds, to be more accurate)

The dry leaves have a uniform pale light green color to the buds, with a fine silver downy-like fuzz covering them, and dark brown to black stems. The buds are long and thin, with no additional shaping given during production. The more mature buds have a younger bud enveloped inside. There are no leaves, and no bare stems in the mix, only buds. The mix consists mostly of unbroken, fully intact buds, with some medium to large bud fragments. The appearance of these buds is definitely similar to those found in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Kenya (to name a few). They are noticeably thinner than the plump Silver Needle teas found in the Fujian province of China, which uses the Fuding Da Bai tea bush (among others), known for producing large, plump buds. Getting back on track, these buds are dried naturally, and simply processed. The aroma has scents of dry rosebuds and dandelions, fresh hay, and light touches of vanilla and honey.

Five grams of dry buds were placed in a six ounce (180 ml) porcelain gaiwan, and infused with 185°F (85°C) water for 3:00 minutes.

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Silver Yeti White Tea – Liquid

The liquid has a full golden yellow color. The aroma has scents of rosebuds, dandelion, hay, and lighter scents of vanilla and honey. The body is light-medium, with a pillowy, airy texture. That is not a description I use often (or maybe ever), but this liquid feels like it levitates off the tongue, and just hovers in the mouth. Admittedly, I spent a lot more time than usual just observing the mouthfeel of this tea, trying to think of an appropriate description to record. There is no bitterness or astringency. The taste has notes of rosebuds, dandelions, hay, lighter touches of vanilla and honey, and a barely noticeable hint of licorice. The aftertaste carries the notes of sweet hay and vanilla, and leaves a pleasantly light floral essence on the breath.

As a quick sidenote, the third and fourth infusions are easily the most aromatic and flavorful infusions.

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Silver Yeti White Tea – Infused Buds

The majority of the infused buds have a light forest green color, with some being brown-red, with dark brown stems. The majority of the buds are unbroken and fully intact, with a bud only pluck, and some larger buds enveloping younger buds. There are some medium to large bud fragments. There are no leaves or bare stems in the mix. The buds are long and narrow. The aroma, especially as the buds get cooler, is intoxicating with strong scents of honey, vanilla, licorice, rosebuds, and a touch of hay.

The Silver Yeti White Tea from Nepal Tea is a beautiful reminder of the high quality products hailing from the Nepalese foothills of the Himalayas. And these products are not just Darjeeling style black teas, but teas of all styles. This white tea boasts a subtle yet sophisticated character, with a great combination of floral, sweet, spicy, and earthy scents and flavors. The texture of the liquid was a true highlight for me, just observing a texture that I do not recall experiencing before. My best description was pillowy, as the liquid felt soft and gentle on the tongue and roof of the mouth, and more dense in between. These buds have many infusions of pleasure to offer, so considering the cost, be sure to pull every last drop of goodness out of these buds before disposing of them.

Many thanks to Nepal Tea for their generosity in providing this sample of Silver Yeti White Tea. There will be plenty of other reviews, and more information about the good works being done by the good people at Nepal Tea and Kanchanjangha Tea Estate, in the near future. Cheers!

Fikkal Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal White Tea From Surajmukhi Tea

In the past, I have reviewed several black teas, green teas, and maybe one white tea from Nepal. However, today will be my first experience with a silver needle white tea from this up and coming tea producing nation. This review will focus on the Silver Needle White Tea from Fikkal Tea Garden, located in the Ilam District of eastern Nepal. This sample was provided by Surajmukhi Tea.

Sadly, I was not able to find much information on the Fikkal Tea Garden. I was able to determine that it must be closely positioned to Kanyam Tea Estate and Factory, just a few kilometers away from the India border and the Darjeeling region of India.

The sample packet has been opened, and a unique earthy aroma is being emitted from this Silver Needle tea. Let the journey begin…

Fikkal Silver Needle White Tea Dry Leaves
Fikkal Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal White Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have the standard colors for a silver needle tea, consisting of some dark greenish brown stems, and buds covered in downy-like silver hairs. Most of the buds are whole and unbroken, but there is a notable amount of fragments and crumbs. There are also some bare stems in the mix. The buds have a very soft, fuzzy texture. The buds are fluffy, crisp, and delicate, cracking easily. The buds are the standard needle shape, and are thin compared to those produced in China. The aroma is quite unique, with scents of hay, barnyard, animal hyde, light flowers, and light grapes.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified spring water was heated to 185°F (85°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.

To best enjoy this tea at home, use 3 grams of dry leaves for every six ounces (180 ml) of water to be used. The leaves are quite light and fluffy, so use 2-3 teaspoons to reach the 3 gram amount. Heat water to 175°F to 185°F (75°C to 85°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 minutes. These leaves may be reused at least three to four times.

Fikkal Silver Needle White Tea Infusion
Fikkal Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal White Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, pale, golden-yellow color, perfectly clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of hay, light green grape, valley flowers, light honey, and light vanilla. The body is light-medium, with a velvety and clean texture, and a refreshing energy. The taste has notes of hay, light green grape, valley flowers, light vanilla, light honey, and light apricot. The aftertaste leans to the hay and honey notes, with an essence left on the breath that carries the hay and valley flower notes. There is a very mild astringency, and no bitterness whatsoever.

Fikkal Silver Needle White Tea Infused Leaves
Fikkal Silver Needle White Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves vary in color from the dark brown stems to light brownish-green buds. About half of the buds are whole or unbroken, while the other half are bud fragments. There are a few bare stems in the mix, and a notable amount of small fragments and crumbs. The buds have an average length of just under one inch (25 mm). The buds are fairly thin. Some plucks have a very fine leaf enveloping a smaller bud. The aroma has scents of hay, green grapes, light barnyard, light valley flowers, light honey, and light animal hyde.

Although I cannot say that I am overly impressed by the appearance of the Fikkal Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 White Tea, either in the dry or infused state, I was highly impressed by the characteristics of the infusion in the cup. The color of the liquor was bright and uplifting, the body and texture were refreshing and clean, the taste was sweet and well layered. I am currently on the third infusion of the same leaves, and this tea maintains these positive characteristics quite well from infusion to infusion. I was slightly concerned about how this tea would turn out in the cup, given the earthy and animal scents that I was picking up in the dry leaf, but neither of those descriptions ended up in the cup. With a little more attention paid to the pluck and processing of these buds in order to improve their appearance, this tea could easily compete with it’s competitors from India, Sri Lanka, and even China.

Thanks again to Ankit Lochan at Surajmukhi Tea for providing this interesting sample of Fikkal Silver Needle 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal White Tea! Cheers!

Khima FTGFOP1 2nd Flush 2014 Nepal Green Tea from Surajmukhi Tea

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…

Khima FTGFOP1 Nepal Green Tea Dry Leaves
Khima FTGFOP1 Nepal Green Tea Dry Leaves

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.

Khima FTGFOP1 Nepal Green Tea Infusion (175F)
Khima FTGFOP1 Nepal Green Tea Infusion (175F)

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.

Khima FTGFOP1 Nepal Green Tea Infused Leaves
Khima FTGFOP1 Nepal Green Tea Infused Leaves

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.

Khima FTGFOP1 Nepal Green Tea Infusion (205F)
Khima FTGFOP1 Nepal Green Tea Infusion (205F)

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!

 

Mist Valley Nepal 2nd Flush 2014 Oolong Tea from Surajmukhi Tea

Nothing excites me more than to receive a package of samples from a region that I am relatively inexperienced with. Although I have tried a number of products from the Kanchanjangha Tea Estate in Nepal, one of which is offered at The Tea Journeyman Shop, that is the only Nepalese tea estate who’s products I have had the pleasure of reviewing. That fact ends now. The most recent package of samples from the Surajmukhi Tea Company consists of products from five factories in Nepal. Today’s review will focus on the 2nd Flush 2014 Oolong Tea from the Mist Valley Tea Factory.

Mist Valley Tea Factory is located in Jitpur, Ilam District, in eastern Nepal. Jitpur is well known for being misty and foggy, thus it is nicknamed Mist Valley. Although Mist Valley Tea does operate its own garden, also known as Mist Valley, the Mist Valley Tea Factory also uses raw tea leaves from other areas of Ilam, including Sangrumba, Mangalbare, Jitpur, and Siddithumka. The tea estates in this region range in altitude from 1,300 to 1,700 meters (4,265 to 5,580 feet) above sea level, and all are located in the hills. Mist Valley Tea Factory produces only orthodox styles of tea, and is in the process of obtaining organic status. Mist Valley Tea has been growing tea since 1989, and processing raw leaves into consumable tea products since 2004.

The sample packet has been opened, and an incredible aroma has me excited to get this review underway. Let the journey begin…

Mist Valley Nepal 2nd Flush 2014 Oolong Tea Dry Leaves
Mist Valley Nepal 2nd Flush 2014 Oolong Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves appear similar in some ways to Darjeeling second flush teas, with colors ranging from light brown to copper red to black. There is a generous portion of nicely developed silver tips in the mix. The leaf fragments are larger than those found in most Darjeeling teas, and mostly consist of medium to large fragments, with some appearing to be whole. There are few bare stems in the mix. The pluck appears to mostly be two leaf and bud pluck, but some have a single leaf and bud pluck. The leaves are neatly rolled, and I would not be surprised to learn that this is a hand-rolled tea. The leaves are light in weight, fairly fluffy, and crack easily but do not crumble. The silver tips are covered in downy-like white hairs, and have a smooth texture. The aroma is incredible, with rich scents of dried cherries, clove, natural bee honey, roses, and raw cacao. The appearance and aroma are very impressive, and quite inviting.

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 brewing 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° to 205°F (90°C to 96°C). Steep the leaves for 3:00 minutes. At least two quality infusions can be expected from the same serving of leaves. Expect the second and any subsequent infusions to be noticeably lighter than the preceding infusion.

Mist Valley Nepal 2nd Flush 2014 Oolong Tea Infusion
Mist Valley Nepal 2nd Flush 2014 Oolong Tea Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a dark honey, golden orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma had scents of roses, clove, and raw cacao. The body is medium-full, with a rounded texture. The taste had notes of roses, clove, raw cacao, and light sweet potato or yam. The aftertaste is sweet and floral, and a rich flowery essence is left on the breath.

Mist Valley Nepal 2nd Flush 2014 Oolong Tea Infused Leaves Full Image
Mist Valley Nepal 2nd Flush 2014 Oolong Tea Infused Leaves Full Image

The infused leaves vary in color from greenish-brown to copper or reddish-brown. The leaves are mostly large fragments, and there are more whole leaves than originally expected. The largest whole leaf was exactly three inches (76 mm) long and exactly one inch (25 mm) wide. There is a respectable portion of tips in the mix. The pluck is mostly two leaves and a bud, with some having a single leaf and bud. The aroma has scents of dark red cherry, light clove, and roses. The aroma is very sweet and pleasant.

Mist Valley Nepal 2nd Flush 2014 Oolong Tea Infused Leaves Close Image
Mist Valley Nepal 2nd Flush 2014 Oolong Tea Infused Leaves Close Image

Nepalese teas are gaining much respect in the specialty tea industry, and there is little wonder as to why. This Mist Valley 2nd Flush 2014 Oolong Tea is a perfect testament to the reasons. The fresh, rich aroma and high quality appearance of the dry leaf are remarkable. The aroma and taste of the infusion are similar to higher quality Darjeeling teas, yet it has more of cherry character than a grape character, and the clove scent and taste provided a very nice balance. Even the aroma and the infused leaves are impressive, and in my opinion more interesting to observe than most Darjeeling teas. I am very interested to see how the other 2nd flush varieties of tea from Mist Valley compare to this oolong.

Thank you very much to Ankit Lochan at Surajmukhi Tea for providing this sample. And thank you to the management and all the laborers at Mist Valley Tea for their efforts in producing high quality products. Cheers!

Mao Feng Green Tea from Mount Kanchenjunga in Nepal

UPDATE: The Mount Kanchenjunga Nepal Green Tea is now available for purchase at The Tea Journeyman Shop! Click Here to view and purchase this high-altitude grown green tea from the first organic tea estate in Nepal!

Tonight’s review focuses on the Premium Mao Feng Green Tea from Mount Kanchenjunga in eastern Nepal. After reviewing the white, oolong, and two black teas, I am very interested to see if this green tea has any common characteristics to the other teas. Namely, the rose and cherry aromas and tastes that I found existing in each of the other four products from Mount Kanchenjunga previously reviewed.

The sample packet has been opened, and an incredibly fresh, fragrant, room-filling aroma of roses and jasmine is already impressing me. Let the journey begin…

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The dry leaves have a pale green to dark green color, with quite a few mature silver tips in the mix. The silver tips are covered in very fine hairs. The leafs are rolled, and appear to be large leaf fragments and whole leaves with a few stems intact. The aroma had scents of grass, roses, light jasmine, and light hay.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) ceramic infusion cup. Purified spring water was heated to 175ºF (75ºC). The leaves were infused for two minutes.

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The first infusion produced a liquor with a pale yellow color and a light jade green tint, clear and transparent. The aroma had scents of light roses, light grass, light nut, and light jasmine. The body is light-medium, with a very smooth, delicate texture. The taste had notes of light roses, light grass, light wood, and light jasmine. The aftertaste was floral and slightly grassy, with a strong jasmine floral essence left on the breath.

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The second infusion produced a liquor with a slightly darker shade of pale yellow color, with a lighter jade green tint than the first infusion. The aroma retained the scents of roses, jasmine, nut, and grass. The body remained light-medium. The taste was slightly bolder, but retained the notes of roses, jasmine, and light grass. The aftertaste remained floral, and the essence retains a potent jasmine character.

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The third infusion produced a liquor with the lighter shade of pale yellow color like the first infusion. The aroma lightened some, but maintained the same floral scents. The body and taste also lightened some, but again the notes of roses and jasmine were dominant. The aftertaste and essence remained impressively floral. This third infusion had plenty of sweet floral character.

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The infused leaves had a fresh, bright green color. The pluck was two leaves with a mature bud, stem intact. Some tips measured about one inch (25.4 mm) long. There are many whole leaves, and the rest are large fragments. The aroma is very fresh, with scents of wet wood, wet grass, roses, and jasmine.

The surprisingly sweet floral character of this Mao Feng Green Tea from Mount Kanchenjunga was very impressive. This green tea has become an instant favorite of mine. The fresh quality of the aroma of the dry and infused leaves is very attractive. This green tea is a perfect combination of classic green tea character with the floral quality similar to Darjeeling teas. It is interesting to see the influence of both bordering countries to Mount Kanchenjunga, being China and India, being present in this specific tea. This is a green tea worth trying, regardless of your tea type preferences.

Thank you again to Niru Trading for providing this impressive tea. Cheers!

Thank you for taking your time to read this review. Please leave a comment and start a discussion.

Oolong Tea from Mount Kanchenjunga in Nepal

This evening’s review will focus on the Oolong Tea from Mount Kanchenjunga, which is located on the eastern border of Nepal. These teas from Mount Kanchenjunga seem to have some similarities to one another, regardless of the processing of the leaves and the type of tea that is the end result. All of the teas have a dominant floral rose aroma and taste. Most of the teas also have a light cherry note in the taste, some have sweeter cherry, and others have tart cherry. I expect these characteristics to hold true in this Oolong tea. However, the next product from Mount Kanchenjunga to be reviewed is the premium Mao Feng green tea. I will be interested to see how that compares to the black, white, and oolong varieties that I have reviewed thus far.

The sample packet has been opened, and a very fresh, fragrant rose scent is expanding into my office. Let the journey begin…

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Mount Kanchenjunga Oolong Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves vary in color from reddish-orange to reddish-brown to dark brown to purple-black, with some silver tips in the mix. The silver tips are covered in fine silver hairs. The leaves appear to be medium to large fragments, with a possibility of some being whole. The leaf fragments are rolled, and the longer leaves, which I believe are whole, appear to be twisted. There are no bare stems in the mix. The aroma is dominantly floral (roses), and a scent of cherry jam. The dry leaves, both in appearance and aroma, are very attractive.

Nine grams of dry leaves were placed in an eighteen ounce (530 ml) cast-iron teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 195ºF (90ºC). The leaves were infused for two minutes.

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Mount Kanchenjunga Oolong Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright golden-orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma is very potent, and dominantly floral (roses), with a cherry jam scent being obvious as I pull away from the cup. The body is medium, with a crisp, fresh texture. The taste is also dominantly floral (roses), with lighter notes of tart cherries, and a very light mineral (wet stones) hint. The aftertaste is floral (roses), with a pleasing floral essence being left on the breath.

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Mount Kanchenjunga Oolong Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a very similar shade of golden-orange color. The aroma remains floral (roses), and lighter on the cherries. The body remains medium. The taste has lightened some, and remains dominant with floral (roses) notes, an even lighter tart cherry note, and consistent mineral (wet stones) hint. The aftertaste remains floral (roses), with a pleasing floral essence. Although somewhat lighter in character, this second infusion maintained more strength than I expected. My expectation for the third infusion is a significantly lighter overall character.

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Mount Kanchenjunga Oolong Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with a lighter shade of golden-orange color than the second infusion. The aroma has lightened significantly, but remains dominantly floral (roses). The body has lightened. The taste has lightened, with the floral (roses) note still providing much of the taste. The tart cherry taste is nearly exhausted, and the mineral (wet stones) taste remains consistent. The aftertaste and essence are also lighter.

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Mount Kanchenjunga Oolong Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves vary in color from greenish-brown to copper-brown. Most of the leaves are medium to large fragments, but there are a respectable amount of whole leaves in the mix. There are no bare stems whatsoever. The pluck appears to be two leaf and bud. There are some moderately mature tips in the mix, averaging 0.5″ inches (13 mm) in length. The whole leaves average length is about one inch (25.4 mm). The aroma is floral (roses), and what seems to be a light black licorice hint.

Compared to some of the Darjeeling oolong teas that I have tried, this tea seems to be more forgiving in the taste. I have served one specific Darjeeling oolong to about ten people who all told me that they tasted squash or sweet potato, and they did not seem to mean that in a good way, despite their attempts to make it sound like it did not bother them. Although I do not taste squash or sweet potato myself, I certainly take everyones’ opinions into consideration, especially when the opinions all seem to match one another. Three of those people I had try this Oolong Tea from Mount Kanchenjunga. The result, no squash or sweet potato descriptions, just flowers. I prepared both teas under the exact same measurements of leaf, water temperature, and time.

This is a very enjoyable Oolong, fashioned in the Darjeeling oolong tradition. The aroma and taste maintained the dominant rose and cherry characters, similar to the products from Mount Kanchenjunga reviewed previously. The fresh appearance and full aroma of the dry leaves was very impressive. I can honestly say that this is one of my preferred products of this type from the Nepal and Darjeeling areas.

Thank you to Deepak at Niru Trading for providing this sample to me. Cheers!