About two years ago, I read an article in the New York Times discussing how Nepali tea is growing in popularity. While much of the world of tea lovers is aware of countries like China, Japan, Taiwan, and India for producing exquisite teas, tea from Nepal was virtually unknown, and some Nepalese folks decided to change that while spreading the goodness of tea from this part of the world in the U.S.
The funny thing about Darjeeling being world-renowned and loved is that similar to olive oil, much of the “Darjeeling” that is distributed around the world is actually fake. While I’ve enjoyed many Darjeelings, who the heck knows if they were authentic or a mix of real or fake. I’m no Darjeeling expert at all. All I know is that I still enjoyed them and their distinct flavor. Nepal, not being too far away from the Darjeeling region of India, wants to become the next Darjeeling in some respects, and if they can do it in a sustainable way, then I’d be happy to support them.
So I bookmarked Nepali Tea Traders and Nepal Tea LLC years ago, and finally I got reminded of them when I got an email from another tea company regarding their Black Friday sales last week. I remembered I had wanted to support Nepali tea small businesses, so I went to both of these websites, and I ended up choosing the second one because, well, they had a smaller minimum to buy in order to qualify for free shipping, plus they were willing to offer 15% off for Black Friday. I chose three teas: one Kumari gold tea (which is like a lighter black tea), one Ganesha green tea, and one I was wary of, but after reading so many good reviews, I figured I had to try it: Nepali Breakfast tea. This is their version of a chai blend with spices, and while I am partial to chai with just fresh ginger, cardamom, and the occasional sprinkle of fennel seeds and a single clove or two, I decided to try this out. Reviews said it was warm with a light spice. Chai blends I’ve tried previously have just been too strong for me: the pepper, clove, or cinnamon has been overpowering.
I tried the Nepali breakfast with 50/50 ratio of water to milk this morning, and I was blown away by how good it was: it really was as the reviewers described: warm, lightly spiced, and very comforting. There’s no ginger in this, which is what I love in my chai, but I actually didn’t miss the ginger at all. I even had Chris try some of it, as he’s usually averse to strongly spiced chai, especially the amount of ginger I like in mine, and he agreed this was very good.
This is definitely a great chai when I feel like chai, but I cannot be bothered to crush cardamom pods and slice and smash ginger in the morning. I’m so happy I can not only support a small business but also finally support Nepali tea while enjoying one of my favorite things.