Nepal, believed by some to be the birthplace of the Buddha, also happens to produce some of the world's finest Orthodox teas. The tea industry in the country got its start sometime around 1873. In that year a man named Colonel Gajraj Singh Thapa, son-in-law of Jung Bahadur, Nepal's most famous historical ruler, paid a visit to neighbouring Darjeeling. Wherever he went the locals offered him steaming cups of tea, which he found to be quite delicious. He was also apparently, according to historical account, quite taken with the sight of the orderly rows of tea that were carved into the mountain steppes up around the town of Darjeeling. Upon his return to Nepal the Colonel, estimating that climactic and topographical conditions in his country were likewise suitable for tea, set about establishing two estates and so the industry was born.

The Colonel's plan was a success. To say that the natural environment in Nepal is perfect for tea is an understatement. How perfect is it? Consider the following poem from "The Teachings of the Buddha" in reference to the country: "Soft zephyrs pass through the trees of that Pure Land and stir the fragrant curtains of the pavilions and pass away in sweet cadences of music." "Pure Land" is the key term here. The exceptionally clean air, rich mountain soil and pure beaming sunlight produce bushes that flush 4 times per year yielding full leaves densely packed with incredible flavor.

Since the days of Colonel Thapa, the Nepalese industry has weathered various ups and downs but overall has grown considerably. Raw leaf in the country is grown by a mix small holders and larger plantations which has resulted in a good variety of sustainable employment opportunities for the Nepalese. (Interestingly, nearly 60% of tea workers employed in the Nepal are female.)

So how do the teas taste? Most professional tea tasters liken the better Nepalese teas to the top Darjeelings. This Nepal Junchi is an excellent example. The cup opens wide with the pointed muscatel bite of a Darjeeling, offset by soft round notes of wheat and moss grounded by good mouth filling astringency. A heavenly delight from the "Rooftop of the World".