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Tag: Nepali Tea Traders

Nepali Tea Traders Everest First Flush Black Tea

Nepali Tea Traders’ generosity continues. I still have some teas they gave me to review. Today’s pick is their Everest First Flush Black Tea.

Here’s how they describe it on their site:

Our Everest First Flush tea is hand-picked in April from the tender buds of the tea plants that emerge after several months of dormancy as the days turned crisp, sunny, and bright.  This unique, artisan tea is a vibrant expression of the fresh Himalayan spring….The tea’s gentle, aromatic profile features floral and lilac notes. The first sip reveals a smooth, sweet tea, with refreshing spring astringency. This tea finishes with crisp vegetal notes and hints of roasted corn. Like Nepal’s famed peak, this is the pinnacle of our first flush teas.

The very first thing I noticed about Everest First Flush Black Tea is that it doesn’t look like a black tea all. Look at these leaves, with their greyish cast, soft coating of white fuzz, and large surface area:

Looking at this photo, I would swear it’s a white tea if I didn’t know better. The length of the leaves, the fact that they’re so fluffy and take up so much space, the parts that look pale spring green and silver instead of golden-black — these are generally the hallmarks of white tea.

Hell, it even smells like white tea, too — sweet, fruity, grassy, but also with a hint of sharpness underneath like pine. From past experience with Nepali Tea Traders’ blends, I have the feeling that this will have a muscat quality similar to Darjeeling teas.

I took a big heaping teaspoon of tea and brewed it in 8 oz of 85°C water for 2.5 minutes – I decided to aim straight for the middle of the steeping time recommended on the tea package.

The resulting brew was a very pale amber colour, like straw or gold. It smelled like grapes, but it also had a hint of something richer and berry-ish alongside: cherry, perhaps? Beyond that, there was a subtle, floral top-note that I had a hard time putting my finger on. My best guess is gardenia.

The first sip was extremely mild: clear, gentle, quickly receding across my tongue with no lingering aftertaste. While there’s a sweetness and grassiness to the flavour, overall, it’s subtle and unpretentious, and there’s absolutely no astringency. This tea is extremely clean and fresh-tasting — it would be a great introduction for people who want to learn more about black tea, but who think that all black tea tastes like orange pekoe sadness.

You can buy Everest First Flush Black Tea here.

30 Days of Reviews: Pokhara Green Tea from Nepali Tea Traders

Today’s tea is Pokhara Green Tea from Nepali Tea Traders, a company that by now is becoming a pretty familiar presence here on Books & Tea.

pokhara_green_tea_package

This tea is already familiar to me because it’s the base for Jestha Jasmine Green Tea, which I reviewed in May. However, unlike that blend, which I purchased, this sample was given to me for free to review.

The dry leaf is a rich green, bordering between olive, forest and sage. The leaves are long, whole, curled, and somewhat gnarly. Dry, it smells slightly smoky and vegetal, with a green freshness underneath like tree sap.

pokhara_green_tea_leaf

Since the leaves were large, fluffy, and hard to measure, I steeped 2 teaspoons a big 12-ounce mug for 3 minutes. The resulting brew was a deep greenish yellow, and the leaves turned from olive-sage to bright emerald. Look!

pokhara_green_tea_brew

It tasted mild and vegetal, with a slight bitterness at the back of my tongue that reminded me of cooked spinach. However, it’s not astringent. I remember that the Jestha Jasmine tea tasted sweet and powdery, and I wondered how much of that was due to using Pokhara Green Tea as a base. It turns out that the base tea, while gentle and smooth, is not similarly sweet. So I guess the sweetness from the Jestha Jasmine came either from the jasmine buds or from the ginger.

Overall, this is a very smooth, easy tea for sipping.

You can buy Pokhara Green Tea from Nepali Tea Traders here.

PS: Happy Thanksgiving, American readers! I’m in Canada, which means we had our celebration about 6 weeks ago. I hope you’re having a restful, food-filled day. If you want to see what I’m thankful for, I usually talk about positivity and gratitude every night on Twitter, so feel free to follow me.

30 Days of Reviews: Manaslu Spring Tippy Black Tea from Nepali Tea Traders

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). In the spirit of the month, instead of writing 50,000 words in 30 days, I’m going to write a short review every day, up to a maximum of 300 words. Think of it is NaNoReMo (National Novel Review Month). This month I’ll do short reviews of books, varieties of tea, and even individual short stories as the mood strikes. So read on!


Today’s tea is Manaslu Spring Tippy Black Tea, and it’s part of the stash of samples that Nepali Tea Traders sent me earlier this year. As with the other teas I received from them, the sample packet was generous:

nepali_tea_traders_manaslu_packet

If the label didn’t say that this was black tea, I wouldn’t have believed it. Considering that the instructions say to brew it at 185°F, which is roughly 85°C, this tea is pretty similar to Darjeeling in that it technically is a black tea, but shares many characteristics with less oxidized blends.

That’s obvious when you get a close look at the leaf, which, as the name Manaslu Spring Tippy Black Tea suggests, is rich with golden, fuzzy tips. It looks incredibly fresh and unprocessed.

nepali_tea_traders_manaslu_leaf

In other words, it looks an awful lot like a white tea. And it smells like one too! It has that fresh, haylike sweetness reminiscent of other white teas, especially the white teas from Nepali Tea Traders that I’ve already tried.

Since the dry leaf was so fluffy, I didn’t steep 1 teaspoon of tea in 8 oz of water as suggested — a measurement of “1 teaspoon” is imprecise. Instead, I measured out 2 grams of tea and steeped it in 12 oz of water at the suggested temperature for 3 minutes.

The resulting brew darkened quickly from pale straw to light golden amber. The spent tea leaves smelled mild and vegetal.

nepali_tea_traders_manaslu_brew

The first sip was similarly light: it tasted mild, with a soft mouthfeel and no astringency. The aftertaste was slightly sweet and juicy, with a hint of honey lingering on the back of the tongue.

This was a surprisingly gentle black tea, but it definitely reminds me of other teas in Nepali Tea Traders’ catalogue.

You can buy Manaslu Spring Tippy Black Tea from Nepali Tea Traders here.

Iced Tea from Nepali Tea Traders

I reviewed a green jasmine blend from Nepali Tea Traders a while back. When they saw my post, they were so appreciative that they offered to send more tea my way — how could I say no to that? Since it’s summer, I asked if they could send me some tea that would hold up well to being iced.

And they delivered! Within a few weeks, this amazing package showed up, full of eight teas to try.

There were four white teas, two black teas, a green and an oolong. Today I’m going to talk about three of the white teas, plus a black tea I bought previously from them that’s the same cultivar as one of the white teas.

Ama Dablam White Tea

Named after a beautiful peak in Eastern Nepal, which means “mother’s necklace,” this white autumnal tea is grown and processed in the style of the prized Bai Mudans from China. It is made from a bud with one leaf shoot from a specially cultivated plant. The tea is dried naturally, fired and then cured for more than a month so the flavor profile develops to the optimum level. The liquor is very pale golden, has a mild floral aroma and a soothing sweet finish, devoid of astringency, and grassy flavors.

The leaves on this tea are a pale spring green with some white fuzzy tips. Overall, they’re beautiful, picture-perfect spring buds. The aroma is sweet but vegetal, like spring peas — somewhat nutty, like a very light dragonwell tea, but also somewhat floral.

I took the entire packet and cold steeped it in 2 litres of water in the fridge for 2 days. The resulting brew was a pale clear yellow, lighter than straw, and very refreshing: it tasted nutty, like the aroma of the dry leaf, but there was also  a vegetal note underneath. It was very soft and clean in my mouth, and went down smoothly — no astringency or strong aftertaste.

nepali_tea_traders_ama_dablam

You can buy Ama Dablam White Tea from Nepali Tea Traders here.

Dhulagiri White Tea

Named for Nepal’s “dazzling, white beautiful mountain,” this delightful first flush white tea releases all of the purity and freshness of our Himalayan highlands. One leaf and a bud are hand-plucked and left overnight in the cool spring air for the mildest form of natural oxidation, then gently hand-rolled. The result is a beautiful medley of forest green and pale, silvery green leaves. The tea’s fragrance and flavor reflect the native wild flowers and tender spring vegetables balanced with a slightly nutty finish.

The Dhulagiri tea was my next choice. The leaves here had a very soft texture, and were a medium sage green colour with the occasional white fuzzy tip. Unlike the Ama Dablam tea, which looked like perfect little leaves in miniature, here the dry leaf looked closer to grass clippings: tangled, curly, piled up.

The aroma is what really sets this tea apart: it smelled very much like a Bai Mu Dan tea, with notes of flowers, peach, and pears. There was a slight mustiness underneath, but that just enhanced things.

This time, I used the full packet of dry leaf but brewed it with only 1 litre of cold water rather than 2. I noticed when I made the Ama Dablam tea that it tasted really light, so I figured that decreasing the ratio of water to tea leaf would be a good call.

And it definitely was! This was by far the sweetest and most delectable of all of the teas reviewed in this post. Floral, soft, and mouth-coating. This one is a winner.

nepali_tea_traders_dhulagiri

You can buy Dhulagiri White Tea from Nepali Tea Traders here.

Sandakphu Silver White Tea

A classic Nepali white tea, the barely exposed young leaves reveal down-like white hairs. One leaf and a bud are plucked during the spring harvest. Because Nepal’s teas havea long period of dormancy, they have been shown to be higher in antioxidants than teas from other countries Once hand-plucked, the tea is swithered in a trough and dried in the moonlight. Sandakphu Silver has a fresh, fruity aroma. Its flavor balances subtle notes of stone fruit with a satisfying, nutty finish.

The Sandakphu white tea looked very similar to that of the Dhulagiri — curled, tangly leaves with a mix of green and white tips. However, I also noticed some brown twigginess. It smelled mild and nutty just like the Ama Dablam. However, for some reason I just wasn’t a fan of the nuttiness of this tea once it was brewed. I used only 1 L of water to make the flavour stronger, but I think that wasn’t the best strategy here.

nepali_tea_traders_sandakphu_silver_white

You can buy Sandakphu Silver White Tea from Nepali Tea Traders here.

Sandakphu Hand Rolled Black Tea

This top-rated Orthodox black tea evokes the warm days and crisp nights on the slopes of Sandakphu. During the summer harvest, pluckers carefully select two leaves and a bud. The tea is then taken to the withering trough, where it is exposed to cold air, which pulls moisture out. After stabilizing the temperature, the tea is hand-rolled in the trough, which gently bruises the leaves, accelerating oxidation. The tea is then carefully fire-dried. This exquisite tea has a mellow, flowery aroma of Nepalese orchids and wild flowers. The cup has a lovely golden infusion, with the sweet notes of wildflower honey and a lingering apricot finish.

This tea is the odd one out of the bunch. I bought it last year as part of Amoda Tea’s Black Friday sale. It was sitting in my cupboard all winter. When I saw that Nepali Tea Traders sent me a white Sandakphu tea, I thought it would make sense to review them at the same time.

However, that plan didn’t come to pass very well — I finished the white tea before I had a chance to drink the black, so I couldn’t do a side-by-side comparison. However, I will say that the texture of the two leaves appears very similar, with that piled, tangled look.

The dry leaf here smelled sweet and woody, kind of like cherries. I decided to have this one hot rather than cold, so I brewed a heaping spoonful with boiling water for 3.5 minutes. Brewed, the flavour was fruity, woody, and somewhat haylike. I also got a sensation of malt and cola, I think.

The profile here was fairly similar to other Nepalese black teas I’ve had in the past, with a faint sour note underneath the wood. I don’t remember detecting such a sour note in the white tea, which is interesting.

nepali_tea_traders_sandakphu_hand_rolled_black_tea

You can buy Sandakphu Hand Rolled Black Tea from Nepali Tea Traders here.

Orange and Ginger and Jasmine, Oh My! A Look at Some More Amoda Teas

You might have noticed that I didn’t post anything last week. Work’s been pretty hectic, so I was feeling swamped. However, I try not to let that happen too often — I normally have at least have some notes drafted in advance so I can post things at the last minute.

But what do you drink when you’re feeling stressed and super busy? (You get three guesses, and the first two don’t count.)

And what better way is there to unwind than with some jasmine teas? This week’s teas are another set that I bought from Amoda Tea last year at their Black Friday sale. However, as you’ll see, each tea has a twist.

Jestha Jasmine from Nepali Tea Traders

June, or “Jestha” in Nepal, is the month that marks the start of summer, a time when fragrant jasmines are in full bloom. Our premium full leaf green tea is blended with dried jasmine blossoms to create a smooth, sublime cup. Transport yourself to a serene Nepalese tea garden with every sip.

One thing the description above doesn’t mention is that this blend contains orange peel in addition to jasmine. I’ve imagined for a while that orange and jasmine would be a match made in heaven, so when I saw that this tea was part of the Amoda sale, I had to give it a try!

The thing that I was immediately struck by when I first opened the envelope was just how visible the jasmine was in the blend. Mixed in with the dark green strands of leaf and chunks of dried orange peel were whole flowers. Huge! Like this:

nepali_tea_traders_jestha_jasmine_leaf

However, the leaf didn’t smell like the perfumed onslaught I was expecting. Instead, it smelled mild, slightly vegetal, and slightly floral.

This lightness and gentleness held up upon brewing. I took a big heaping spoonful and steeped it for 2 minutes in 70°C water, as directed on the package. I was worried that this would lead to a weak, nothing-flavoured tea, but I was mistaken — the resulting liquid was a pleasing orange-yellow colour that signalled good things.

nepali_tea_traders_jestha_jasmine_brew

And, yup, the taste was just like the dried leaf — mild, gently sweet, and with a texture and softness in the mouth that reminded me of baby powder (in a good way). The jasmine flavour here is wispy and feather-light. Surprisingly pleasant! I didn’t get any orange, but I’m still in love with how gentle the whole thing is.

You can buy Jestha Jasmine Green Tea from Nepali Tea Traders here.

Hawaiian Ginger Jasmine from Swan Sisters

We source our Ginger from an organic farm in beautiful Maui and add this to our already fantastic Jasmine Dragon Pearls. A touch of orange peel adds to the exotic flare. Hawaiian Ginger Jasmine also makes a delicious iced tea for Summer.

This is a tea I bought out of a mixture of curiosity and hope. Curiosity because jasmine and ginger are such contrasting flavours, the former cool and gentle and serene, the latter spicy and forceful. Hope because I have heard that ginger can be great for soothing upset stomachs, and I’ve got this weird stomach pain issue that I have yet to confirm a diagnosis for. Would having more ginger teas in my cupboard help?

The jury’s still out on that. However, I can say that combining ginger and jasmine together in a tea is just as unusual as I thought it would be. Here, small chunks of ginger root are mixed in wholesale with the dragon pearls. The description above says the tea also contains orange peel, but either I didn’t see any or I wasn’t able to tell the pieces of peel apart from the chunks of ginger.

swan_sisters_hawaiian_ginger_jasmine

How do I describe the smell of this tea? It’s obviously a combination of ginger and jasmine, but the interplay between the two is so odd. I don’t smell any harmony in this combination — there’s no sense of them being complementary flavours at all. Occasionally the jasmine wins out over the ginger, or vice versa, but overall the mix of sweet, slightly powdery florals and the assertiveness of ginger is, at best, idiosyncratic.

I took about 1.5 teaspoons of dry leaf and steeped it in 85°C water for 3 minutes. The resulting tea was similar in colour to the Jestha Jasmine above, though slightly paler. And like the tea above, the powdery-soft nature of the jasmine was apparent here. But the sweetness and strength of the ginger interfered in a way that’s hard to describe.

I know that there are people that will probably dig this flavour blend, but it turned out to be a hard sell for me.

You can buy Hawaiian Ginger Jasmine from Swan Sisters here.

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