Tales of the Autumn

Oct – Nov 2019

The rumour always circles around the tea community during the Autumnal Flush that the tea just disappears quickly, and they become rare. Most of the teas are thought to be preserved for themselves to battle against the long and cold winter. Well, the rumour is, to some extent, true! Autumn teas do run out quickly and everyone and everything in the fields rush toward hibernation… must’ve been very tired by now after 9 months of picking and processing. And now it’s time to thank all the farmers and all involved in the cycle of production to consumption throughout the seasons. Thank you very much for subscribing to our teas!

The autumn teas are very different from spring teas, the leaves are comparatively dry and the color of the liquor changes to the shades of orange. It’s the combination of Musky.Tangy.Amber.

Golden Leaf Awards

Australian International Tea Expo 2019
BEST GLOBAL TEA INITIATIVE

Working with farmers, producers, and the association, consumers and so on… it’s not easy but it isn’t that hard either, and because, we love promoting Nepal Tea and Small Farmers of Nepal. Our initiative, our mission, is an ongoing process, to work together with the small tea farmers and promote their Nepal Tea on the global platform. We are now in our infant stage, we have a long way to go!

We would like to thank the Australian International Tea Expo, Golden Leaf Award and Australian Tea Masters for the recognition.

Learn more … Golden Leaf Award 2019

International Black Tea Tasting Program

2019 BELT AND ROAD FORUM
Chibi City, Hubie, China
AWARD WINNERS
Golden Tips – Sakhejung
Golden Tips – Laliguras
Golden Black – Sakhejung
Pearl Black – Jasbire

Oct 28 – 31, our Specialty Tea Association of Nepal (STAN) represented Nepal Tea in the International Black Tea Tasting Program held in Chibi City, Hubie, China, organized by 2019 Belt and Road Forum for International Tea Industry Development and The Fifth Chinese Tea Industry Conference. We were able to bag 4 major awards for our teas out of 65 participants with judging panels from 16 different nations, one from Australia too (Australian Tea Masters of Australian Intl Tea Expo). Congratulations to the producers of these awards-winning teas.

Journey to the North East, Nepal

Autumnal Flush Peek-a-boo
Tea tasting @ Jasbire Tea Processor

It was a three weeks journey into the tea gardens of the eastern hills of Nepal. I’ve spent a quarter of my life on these hillsides. I used to travel all the way from Kathmandu, my school town, to my home town eastern Nepal, in my winter holidays. Back then, there were only a few tea gardens here, but now it seems like the quarter of this far eastern hilly region is decorated with beautiful tea gardens. Nature is always in abundance in Nepal and now these beautiful tea gardens are like a cherry on the top. 

It’s always cold and foggy in these hills but with the autumn, the strong winter chills come ringing through your nostrils. So I got my warm jackets on… and I walked through the trails and tea plantations in the hope to discover something new. 

Shri Antu was my first destination in my itinerary. But on my way, I couldn’t resist the scenic views of Kanyam, that’s where the high altitude tea plantations begin. So I settled in for more than a couple of hours looking at the views and taking photos. The weather was bright that day with an opened up sky. That means, only in that weather you could see the beautiful Himalayan range (Kanchenjunga range) otherwise it’s always covered with thick clouds. Now I can finally take some photos of the mountain range from Kanyam Tea Gardens. 

 Shri Antu – reached, after 2 hrs drive from Kanyam. Shri Antu is a different heaven elevated 2500 meters above sea level and then you have a pond right on top of these hills in the middle of the tea gardens. How scenic perfect! But a little taken aback to find that many hotel room blocks have been built right where once used to be a beautiful tea garden. It is becoming commercial but then oh, what do I know? It’s a facility made for people like me and all of us, the visitors.

A little further from the pond, on the peak of the hill is a hill station tower, where people flogged in to see the sunrise dawning from the hills of Darjeeling across the border. Make it a wishlist already!

Shri-Antu Tea Garden
2500 meters above sea level

Ale Dada

Ale is not “Ale” as in liquor. It is one of the surnames of Magars, the indigenous people of Nepal. And Dada means Hill.

M.B Tamang
Small Farmer
Autumn Flush Handmade Black Tea
Cultivar: Camellia Sinensis Var Sinensis
(Takdi 78)

Taste Profile

Slightly stronger yet clean on your throat although not so creamy and gathers tea hairs like most of the teas from Nepal because of the younger tea plantation. Overall, it’s a perfect everyday black tea. The small farmers in Nepal make this type of black teas for their own consumption and not for commercial purposes, and also, since it is hand-made, it cannot be produced in mass-scale.

Autumn Flush local handmade black tea made by this small team of family-owned little tea farms led by M. B Tamang. They pick 200 – 300 kgs of tea leaves in a week depending on seasons, whereas Autumn picking is in the least and rare pickings. When it comes to handmade orthodox tea, it’s his wife who does most of the processing except crushing. Mr. M B Tamang would crush the tea leaves, his cousin would do the withering and then the rest is followed and carried out by the woman of the house.

M.B Tamang has quite a big family. Two brothers, wife, two daughters, and a son. His son is a medical doctor working in a hospital in Biratnagar, the terai (plains) district of Nepal and his older daughter is currently doing her Ph.D. thesis in Education, whereas his youngest daughter is also studying high school. In spite of the poor literacy rate in Nepal, Mr. Tamang seemed to have laid a successful education plan for his children. It was great knowing that.

 

Man Maya Ale
Small Farmer

Man Maya Ale is another small farmer from Magar Village – Ale Dada, Shri-Antu Hills. She has tea plantation in her own land; in the hills seen at the background of her picture above. Her tea plantation is slightly bigger than MB Tamang, which means, she picks at least 200 – 400 kgs of tea leaves per week from her tea gardens. MB Tamang and Man Maya are relatives and neighbors too. But the distance of this hillside neighborhood is more than an hour and a half walk.

There are approximately 50,000 small farmers like Man Maya Ale and M.B Tamang in the hills of Nepal, who are directly linked with tea production and plantation. Our effort is to continuously work with them, bring their stories forward and promote their teas.

Sakhejung and Jasbire

My journey continued towards up north meeting small-scale tea processors Sakhejung and ended in Jasbire. Everyone was happy and we congratulated each other on our recent achievements, for the awards we have won. These two factories have been sending their award-winning Golden Tips and Silver Needle teas to us, to Australia. It has been a pleasure trading their teas in the international market and giving them the feedback, and help them improve their business. We shook hands with the assurance of meeting again in the Spring of 2020.

Peace and love,
The Discover Nepal Tea crew

Left to Right
Images from Sakhejung and Jasbire

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