Drinking its brews is different from traditional tea, there is an elaborate process of growing, picking, making, sorting and drinking it chilled like champagne in tea ceremonies.
Gyawali says his tea garden tries to get away from being a poor copy of Darjeeling varieties to be sold by the case-loads and blended with other teas. For this, Jun Chiyabari uses new Nepali cultivars, Taiwanese machines, specially trained pickers and has found a new cult following among the health-conscious in Europe and East Asia who are disillusioned with coffee.
With the success of these specialty Nepali teas in the international market, branding standard Nepali tea may have come too late.
“Despite it being a good branding exercise, very little of the tea produced in Nepal is of high enough quality and there is a danger that the new brand will be eroded if we do not implement proper food safety measures and quality control,” says Uday Chapagain of Gorkha Tea Estate and Nature Himalayan Tea.
With so much happening in Nepal’s tea industry, championing the international market will no longer become an unachievable mission.