Country of Origin: Nepal
Leaf Appearance: deep green, tightly rolled
Steep time: 3 minutes
Water Temperature: 203 degrees
Preparation Method: glass infuser mug
Liquor: deep gold
When I first got into tea Nepal was a little-known growing region that was touted as an affordable alternative to Darjeeling. As I learned in Jeff Kohler's book, Darjeeling: The Colorful History and Precarious Fate of the World's Greatest Tea, Nepalese tea was even sold and labeled as Darjeeling by unscrupulous tea dealers. I'm happy to say that there has a been a significant change not only in name recognition but also in quality over the course of the last decade. Although it can be hard to avoid comparisons between the two regions, black teas from Nepal are generally more delicate with less astringency.
Yatra Tea Company focuses exclusively on orthodox teas directly sourced from estates in India and Nepal. While "one-stop shops" are great, I usually prefer to purchase my teas from companies that specialize in a particular region. Simply put, a shorter supply chain means more control over the final product. I also really appreciate their commitment to improving the lives of the children of tea estate workers. The Sakhira Estate, where this tea was produced, is located in the Nepalese district of Ilam. It is a relatively new estate that has focused on orthodox teas since it was founded in 2000.
The dry leaf was a myriad of greens and browns with silvery buds scattered throughout. Similar to orthodox teas from Darjeeling and Assam, the leaves unfurled to show a somewhat broken appearance. This is due to the rolling process and is not indicative of poor quality. The taste of this tea was floral and sweet with fruity notes that had a slightly tropical lean. Mango? Papaya? I couldn't quite peg it down to a particular fruit but it was definitely delicious. Rather than muscatel, the finish reminded me more of crisp green apples. There was some astringency but only so much as to add a refreshing lightness. It was a fairly smooth cup of tea otherwise. My second infusion was just as tasty as the first and surprisingly full-bodied.
Have you ever tried this tea? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
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