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Back to Nepalese tea, and we learn more about the Sandakphu Estate from where our Nepal teas originate.

Nepal Snow Mountain White Tea

by on May 24th, 2013

Canton Tea Club Week 34: Nepal Snow Mountain White

As you sip this week’s robust and sweet white tea, you can read about the luscious surroundings from which it originated.

Sandakphu is the highest peak in Ilam, a Nepalese province famed for its biodiversity. Ilam is located in eastern Nepal, bordering the Darjeeling area of India. In fact, because the eastern slope of the Sandakphu technically lies partly in India, the peak is often claimed as Darjeeling territory – Wikipedia describes it ‘the highest peak in the state of West Bengal, India’. But we’re not here to debate on border disputes, let’s talk tea…

The Sandakphu Estate was (unsurprisingly) named after the spectacular mountain which is visible from the farm. The farm itself located at Jasbirey village, at around 6500 ft above sea level, nestled into the third highest peak below Sandakphu. Jasbirey village and the surrounding area is known for its biodiversity and organic agriculture, mainly herbs and tea, which is grown at elevations of up to 7800 ft. Tea crafted at such elevations falling within 26 degree North Latitude are rare and unique.

Set up in the early 1990s, the tea plantation at Sandakphu is composed of plant varietals which were brought to the area by experienced tea farmers migrating from other villages within the Ilam district. It is believed that the young age of the plants enhances the aroma of the tea, and within the area these teas are regarded very highly. Focussing on a range of hand-rolled teas, all organic, with lots of unusual varieties, it is easy to see why Sandakphu teas command respect in the tea community.

Over the past few years, small Nepalese tea farms have gained recognition in areas beyond taste: most, including Sandakphu, are fully organic, and many are promoting women to supervisor levels and above from their traditional role in picking the tea (indeed Sandakphu’s farm has a female boss). Not only this, but the tea estate is owned by the farmers, who are also the share-holders, meaning that they are essentially self-employed, allowing them to pick only the finest leaves for production and present what they believe are their best teas to the world.

 

How does this Nepalese white tea compare to other white tea you have tried?

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  1. adp3355 says:

    I thought the leaves looked just like those of some ”Castleton Moonlight’ first flush darjeeling that came from Canton Tea in a taster pack – so I tried them side by side.  The nepalese makes a slightly darker tea, that is perhaps a tad fruitier, and the darjeeling is perhaps a little ‘grassier’ or more vegetal.  However, in truth they were almost indistinguishable.  I suppose that should not be surprising as they come from the same geographical region and presumably they were processed in a similar way.  Both were very smooth and sweet, but much darker in colour and more robust than the Chinese silver needle or any other Chinese white teas I have tried.

  2. KathyMonaco says:

    This was my first experience of a white tea. I was surprised to find the flavour closer to a Darjeeling than to a green tea. I loved the earthy scent of the leaves after they had been steeped. I found the tea very refreshing with a lovely soft aftertaste, with just a hint of sweetness.

  3. tomfreeman says:

    I have tried white teas a couple of times before and found them a bit uninteresting, bland.  But this one is different – really nice, subtle flavour and sweetness.  It has that very distinctive Darjeeling flavour – what causes that? is it the variety of tea, the climate, the soil, the way they process the tea? Can’t be entirely the processing, since the processing of a white tea must be quite different to a standard Darjeeling black tea.
     
    The first time I made this tea it was perfect – subtle, sweet, delicious.  But I was unable to reproduce this subsequently – it was slightly bitter.  The tea must be very sensitive to the exact temperature and brewing time.  I have no thermometer so I just judge the temperature by look and feel.  Need to find a foolproof way of getting it right – any tips?!

  4. mgoat says:

    This is a different white tea. The only way I can find to describe it is that it tastes more “tealike” than other whites I have had. It is packs a lot of flavour in despite remaining delicate and also definitely white. Interesting and very good. I have been away and returned to both this and the roasted green so was able to compare with only a day between. What a contrast between the two. I will comment about that on the next tea club blog post.

  5. cantonteaco says:

    @KathyMonaco Yes it is an unusual white tea with quite ‘Darjeeling-esque’ characteristics. Glad you enjoyed it.

  6. cantonteaco says:

    @tomfreeman  
    Hi Tom. We have some thermometers in stock at the moment: http://www.cantonteaco.com/tea-thermometer.html
     
    Or you can take a look at this page to see how the Chinese interpret the bubbles in the water to tell the temperature (although this will not be a competely foolproof method)
    http://www.cantonteaco.com/new-to-tea-guide

  7. PaulKathro says:

    This is the best white tea I have ever tried. I wish I had bought more while it was available.