This top-rated Orthodox black tea evokes the warm days and crisp nights on the slopes of Sandakphu. During the summer harvest, pluckers carefully select two leaves and a bud. The tea is then taken to the withering trough, where it is exposed to cold air, which pulls moisture out. After stabilizing the temperature, the tea is hand-rolled in the trough, which gently bruises the leaves, accelerating oxidation. The tea is then carefully fire-dried. This exquisite tea has a mellow, flowery aroma of Nepalese orchids and wildflowers. The cup has a lovely golden infusion, with the sweet notes of wildflower honey and a lingering apricot finish.
One teaspoon of tea per 8 ounce cup. Cool boiling water for 1 minute, then steep tea 3 - 4 minutes. Tea can be steeped more than once.
I generally like to save my “black tea experiences” for earlier in the day, because I find these teas to be more invigorating than other leaf types. However, this Sandakphu Hand-Rolled Black Tea from Nepali Tea Traders has a lighter body and a crisp, smooth taste (similar to what you would experience with a Darjeeling tea), and I think that it would make an excellent afternoon or early evening tea. And while I am noticing similarities to a Darjeeling tea, I think that this tea is smoother and less astringent than a typical Darjeeling, and it doesn’t have that wine-like finish of a Darjeeling. Instead, the finish here is – as promised in the above description – apricot! The sip begins with a sweet, fruit-like note and from there delivers notes of flower and wood. It tastes clean and refreshing. As the finish approaches, I notice the aforementioned apricot. It’s surprised me at just how focused the apricot notes are. There’s no mistaking that flavor for anything but apricot! The aftertaste is sweet and maintains some of those apricot-y notes. Nice! This isn’t an overly robust or bold tea, but it does have it’s own sort of briskness to it. It isn’t a tea that I’d choose for first tea of the day, as I said before, it’s one I’d want to curl up with on a quiet afternoon, perhaps with a good book. What impresses me most about this tea is that it’s consistent. With every sip, I get those amazing flavors. It continues to deliver from the very first sip right down to the last.