Nepal is sandwiched between the two great tea producers of China to the North and India to the south. The country’s best tea growing regions are in the far east of the country, a mountainous region which borders Darjeeling.
Our Nepalese teas are sourced from the Kanchanjangha Tea Estate, an organic tea garden which lies in the foothills of Mount Kanchenjunga at an altitude of 1300-1800m. The combination of cool mountain air, abundant sunshine and veils of mist, help create the fine subtle and slightly fruity flavours that are characteristic of the teas here.
Nepal’s tea history dates back to 1863, just a decade after Darjeeling’s tea industry was established. The story goes that the first tea bushes in Nepal were grown from seeds which were given as a gift by the Chinese Emperor to the then Prime Minister of Nepal, Jung Bahadur Rana.
Although it shares a very similar terroir to Darjeeling, Nepali tea has followed a different path to its more illustrious neighbour. Historically, most Nepali leaves have been processed into inexpensive black CTC processed tea destined for domestic consumption and exported to the Indian commodity market. The finer whole leaf grades have usually been sold to Indian traders and labelled as Darjeeling tea. It is no wonder then that Nepal tea for decades has been considered a poor cousin to Darjeeling.
That is now changing, and over the past decade the Nepalese loose leaf tea industry has experienced something of a renaissance. A new generation of small-scale tea growers in the country who have experience of making tea both sides of the border, have been able to blend their expertise with a high level of innovation. This is helping create an exciting new identity for specialty Nepali tea.