Tym razem nieco przewrotnie, bo po angielsku. Dlaczego? Ponieważ chcę się odwdzięczyć moim znajomym, którzy z poświęceniem przysyłają mi herbaty ze swoich krajów i którzy jak łatwo się domyślić, językiem polskim nie władają. Nie jest to angielszczyzna najwyższych lotów, niestety.
Post po polsku został opublikowany na Czajnikowym, tutaj. Zapraszam do czytania!
Hill Top Tea
My trip to Himalayas is still in planning mode… but for what do I have the tea? As says one of the sayings: “Every cup is an imaginary trip” (Catherine Duzel) I would like to invite you to Nepal. Because of kindness of my friend (thank you Manash!) Nepali tea reached my house in one piece and packed into very nice cover. Perfect for coming cold!
Hill Top Tea is a black tea (or red if you are thinking in Eastern nomenclature) and has its origin in Ilam, one of the main tea regions in Nepal. History of the tea plantations in Ilam starts in 60′ XIX, when Chinese politicians gave couple of tea tree seedlings to the Nepali government. Those seedlings were planted in Ilam not for nothing. This part of Nepal is a neighbour with Indian Darjeeling. The conditions of tea cultivation are quite similar and both teas are difficult to distinguish. If this wasn’t enough, also with establishment of new plantations in Nepal, Darjeeling’s seedlings were taken not completely legally. It was quite common to sell tea first to India and then sell it already as a Darjeeling tea. This way of trading you can see also today since some of tea specialists are saying that Darjeeling’s plantations are already a bit old and exploited. Nepali tea from its side can offer freshness and energy of younger plants. After all both teas- Indian and Nepali are quite difficult to distinguish. In fact every person has own opinion about it. For some both teas are the same, for others Nepali tea offers deeper aroma and nicer colour.
What, how and where is being produced?
In Ilam, you can cultivate tea even till 2200 m above sea level on very fertile soils. The tea bushes have there everything to grow nice and reach good quality. Unfortunately, Nepali tea didn’t have so much political luck as her Indian sister. Due to the governmental control of industry, tea potential couldn’t be use properly. Even with slow development of tea plantations, the real “tea kick” appeared after the privatization about 15 years ago.
Nowadays, all kinds of tea are produced in Nepal, but the black one still keeps its first and most traditional place. When you are thinking about tea in Nepal, usually you are thinking about black tea boiled with milk and sugar and some optional spices. Production for the home market is using mainly CTC process (crush, tear, curl) while tea for export is mainly orthodox style. In Nepal exist many private tea plantations and big amount of small, family tea gardens. From those, after the hand collection, the tea is being sold to the small tea industries. There tea is being processed. In fact every tea factory has its own network of private/family tea producers.
There, where the Nepali tea is appearing, it is gathering many fans, because without paying high price you can drink good quality infusions. Chiya (tea in Nepali) is a common drink in Nepal. Many persons starts the day with the tea and keeping drinking it during whole day. It is good, warm and doesn´t require too many ceremonies.
The most important importers are for example Germany and France. Because of export, the quality of the Nepali tea got much better. Nowadays, pesticides or chemical fertilizers are not allow and almost all tea plantations in Nepal are “green” and are under strict controls due to the certifications.
I have to say, that until now, I didn’t search for Nepali tea. From the other hand, Nepali tea, never reached my eyes either. I have had luck to receive tea from my friend. But if someone would like to buy this kind of tea, it is possible or directly from tea factories (like Nepal Tea House) or through the agents. Also some shops are offering Nepali tea, but usually in form of different blends already prepared.
Chai Garam means hot tea
The Hill Top Tea for me tastes superbly. I don’t know if my previous Darjeeling teas were old, low quality or it is because this is in fact completely different tea, but after trying it I got nicely surprised.
The one, which I received, is produced with orthodox method. It is very aromatic and quite efficient. I brew it couple of times and with every brewing taste was really good. You can drink it alone or with some extras- for example lemon. The colour is gold and a bit reddish. Aroma is a bit sweet, I could even feel a bit of honey taste. Dry leaves smell very intensively and aromatic.
In Nepal usually you will drink as a tea boiled with milk, water, tea and sugar. You can add also some optional spices. For chiya usually tea of CTC method is used.
As it is written in the instructions: put leaves to the warm teapot- one spoon per cup and one extra spoon for the pot. With every brewing boil fresh water and brew during 5 minutes.
The brewing time depends on how strong tea we want to have. I recommend to shorten first brewing to 2-3 minutes. Then you can add your favourite extras- lemon, sugar or milk.
If you wish to prepare chiya, you can follow one of the available recipes. I prepared mine due to the recipe from one of the Internet forums about Nepal (quantity for 2 cups).
Prepare a pot and put there more or less a glass of water. Add tea leaves and boil it during 5 minutes. Add more or less a glass of milk and sugar and boil next 5 minutes. During this time watch the colour of your tea. Darker colour means that tea is stronger. Spices are optional in this version.
If you have a possibility, it is worthy to try the teas from the World’s Roof and get surprised with great taste. Also to try the teas from the country which is on its start of the tea road.