I love to go Christmas caroling and we were going to go out with the church tonight, but I don't think anyone will go, the weather is so awful. We were supposed to have rain, ice pellets, freezing rain, sleet and snow, all in this one poor day. Not even the cats, those great outdoor lovers, will go out beyond the end of the porch roof. I guess I'll stay in and have some nice tea from Nepal.
Nepal is a small landlocked country, south of China and north of the Darjeeling and Assam tea growing regions of northeastern India. It is the world's newest republic, with its first president sworn in in July of 2008. Geographically, Nepal has both low lying humid, hot areas, like Assam and the Himalayan Mountains. It is these mountains which are of interest, as this is where today's tea was grown and processed.
Simpson and Vail http://www.svtea.com/ my old standbys, were among the first to import Nepal black tea, from their only tea estate, Ilam. The leaves are a mix of green and taupe, even though this is classed as a black tea. They seem to have almost a brown paper scent. I have brewed this tea at about 200 for 3.5 minutes, with about 7 teaspoons for a 32 oz pot. The brewing tea smells of some sort of hot grain cereal and is a light clear amber. The wet leaves look primarily chopped.
The flavor of the tea is very, very mild, almost grassy with a touch of barley, a bit of a floral. There is no astringency until it begins to cool. I wouldn't say this tea had any depth or breadth, but it is a pleasant gentle experience. I accidentally put a tiny bit of milk in it which did not seem to affect it. I think it would be a nice tea for a time of quiet thoughtfulness.