Photo Courtesy: Sydney Tea Festival 2019
From the foothills of the Himalayas
Are you a conscious drinker?
As it has been coined, and the fact is: Tea is the most sought after popular beverage in the world, excluding water. But why do people drink tea? Is it just a regularity, a culture, sub-culture, popular culture, etc? How it comes into our daily lives so naturally without even thinking, as a routine, like bread and butter… tea has become our habit. It offers energy, warmth, calmness, and some kind of gentle feeling.
Tea is offered to the guests at home as a welcoming gesture in many parts of the world. Tea is also paired with food in meals. In modern-day, Iced Tea is served as a cold beverage. Let’s keep it simple; tea has its own unique taste, flavor, and aroma. Producing tea is a form of art, it is deep, likewise, taste and flavor also vary and always keep expanding. One can taste and drink tea all throughout life, it is harmless. It benefits your health instead. Many researchers and scientists have suggested openly about the benefits of drinking tea. So let us see the health side of tea.
First of all, let us start by saying that our body needs enough fluids every day and drinking tea adds to our fluid intake. So, drinking tea is a flavorful way of drinking water. Apart from fluid intake, scientists and researchers have discovered many benefits of drinking tea. It is scientifically proven, tea leaves contain polyphenolic flavonoids and catechins (anti-oxidants) 10 times the amount found in regular fruits and vegetables. Anti-oxidants play a vital role in our immune system, it helps to protect cells against the effect of free radicals. Researchers also say, drinking tea improves blood flow, heart diseases, fat accumulation, and insulin activity. The research is still an on-going process and there is yet good news to come.
Researchers also suggest the tea leaves grown in high altitudes like Nepal (Himalayas) have a better health perspective. Teas are grown in Nepal at the foothills of the Himalayas where modern civilization exists in the minimum, untouched from pollution. Cars and SUVs are things of wonder to the locals there. It’s more off-road drive, away from concrete.
Apart from these, many of us are concerned about Caffeine consumption. The truth is, there are no such tea leaves that come caffeine-free. But the level of caffeine in tea is very low than that of coffee and it also varies by the type of tea. Black teas, CTC masala have more caffeine than Oolong and green teas, and then white teas, respectively. And as for the serious tea drinker but who is also concerned about caffeine can opt to lower the caffeine level by washing or rinsing the tea leaves. It is the caffeine in tea that gives a waking-up call and on the same side, it keeps you calm as well. Tea is a wonderful drink that way.
Does tea have an expiry date?
The question has been raised time and again. Tea does not have an expiry date rather it will only lose its freshness and flavor. The shelf life of teas depends on the type of tea and how you store. Green teas are the most vulnerable and are best consumed before 18 months. Black teas stored or packaged in tin foil, canisters or solid airtight containers are better with shelf life, it will last 3 years and more depending on the type of tea and how it was produced or processed. Paper packaged black teas will have a lesser shelf life. High-grade black teas are better when they age. However, it is recommended to keep away from light.
Nepal Tea in short
Nepalese teas are unique! The distinct taste, flavor, and aroma separate the Nepalese teas from the rest of the world. Such teas can only be produced in Nepal because of the higher altitude plantation elevated towards the Himalayas.
“Nepal Tea” is a new terminology that came as a part of branding. Nepal Tea and Coffee Board registered a logo identity for all Nepalese tea production very recently in 2018 as a collective trademark and issued directives to conduct a common set of standards for all businesses participating in tea production and export from Nepal. It was inevitable and it was necessary.
The history of Nepalese tea is young compared to the other parts of the world. But it is not that young looking at the economic impact it has made for many tea companies around the world for quite some time. So, it has been there for some period, for about half a century at least, years after East India Company left the east. But where was Nepalese tea hiding all this while? Or was it hidden deliberately from the world tea-map? Ask people if they know about Darjeeling tea? 7 out of 10 will come as Yes! Ask if they’ve heard about Nepalese tea? 1 out of 10 hardly. Nepalese tea gardens and Darjeeling tea gardens are separated just by a borderline between India and Nepal. Talk about landscape and altitude, Nepalese tea plantation goes higher than any parts of the world. Talk about flavor and aroma, they are pretty much the same, but Nepal has a lot of small farmers and likewise, it comes with a lot of varieties. But still, people hardly know about Nepalese teas. Nepalese tea did not have its identity, let alone a sustainable economy for the farmers, that is a distant ship in a land-locked nation, literally. All the businesses involved in the import and export of Nepalese tea in the past did not seem to invent the idea. But one best thing is happening in Nepal recently. Now, these small farmers have perfected the art of tea, and they, themselves, are on the lookout, searching for their own identity, “Nepal Tea.” What they need now is a “Good Luck!”