Sandakphu – A.C. Perchs Thehandel
We are very proud to be the first tea-company to purchase tea from this little speciality tea garden in Nepal. We work directly with Sandakphu tea garden and have purchased two fantastic white teas due to arrive soon..
“SAN – DAK – PHU”
is a name reputedly recognized as a place for the monks to meditate. It is the highest habitable point in the district of Ilam. Ilam district is located in the far eastern part of Nepal adjoining Sikkim and Darjeeling hills of India. Sandakphu is a place also claimed by Darjeeling in India because the eastern slope of Sandakphu peak falls in India. In order to view Sandakphu peak, it is best viewed from India as the peak falls in Nepal.
Sandakphu Tea Plantation and production unit is located at the foothills of Sandakphu Peak at a place known as Jasbirey Village. There is a famous high mountain Pond called Maipokhari near Jasbirey Village. This village is known for its bio diversity and natural reserve of herbs and highest quality tea.
The Tea Plantation at Sandakphu was initiated somewhere in the year 1990 with the plants derived from high quality tea varieties planted locally by ancient farmers migrating from other villages of Ilam district. The plantation is young and fresh nearing maturity and therefore, the quality of tea is considered very high as compared to many other tea areas of Nepal (Note: Young plants have highest level of aroma and character builds up as the plants age).
Unlike many tea plantations where large plantations are carried out by large corporate business houses, where workers work as wage earners (labors). The ownership of land and property in such case reside at corporate level, tea Plantation at Sandakphu has been carried out by the local farmers in their own land and therefore, Sandakphu Tea is an entirely farmer based production with the ownership remaining at farmers level. Self employed farmers and producers at Sandakphu believe that quality can be achieved only by those who have the sense of ownership of the garden because tea quality is defined from the green leaf that is fed to the factory for processing. Since ownership of the garden is at farmers level, the farmers can therefore grow and harvest only the finest leaf for processing as against those who work as a labor for the corporate plantations.
At Sandakphu Tea Processers (P) Ltd, local farmers are the shareholders of the company and is headed by one of the few women tea entrepreneur in the country. Flanked by Tea experts from within and outside the country Sandakphu produces and crafts only the rarest of teas found in the country. Character and flavor profile of Sandakphu is unique to its bio-diversified location found only in such high elevations. Sandakphu tea kitchen is located at 6500 feet while the plantations are as high as 7800 feet. Tea crafted at such elevations falling within 26 degree North Latitude provides flavors and character which cannot be compared to any-one in the world.
The plantation exudes different character and flavor profile at 4 different growing seasons. First flush or the spring season teas at Sandakphu and Autumnal Sandakphu teas are featured as under;
1.Himalayan Bold: Fresh winds of Kanchenjunga that melts the morning dew of fine and fresh tea leaves grown in the high fields of Jasbirey creates this magical brew. Bold defines the character- “Purity with finesse”. This large chunky leaves emits the fragrance of nature and the cup reflects the clarity of the snow clad mountains that surrounds Jasbirey and Ilam during Autumnal season.
2.Dragon Claws: The make of this tea deserves to be described in a typical limboo (tribal) terminology- so we call this creation of art “Mio Kulang” or Dragon/eagle Claws. The Character is depicted especially when it unfurls in its own infusion, the hairy buds looks like claws that open gradually. The Cup is golden in colour but the flavor or the taste innocently mild and mellow with a sweet finish depicting spring season.
3.SFTGFOP FF: Special Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe First Flush from Jasbirey displays the fine spring seasonal flavor. Two leaves and a bud picked only in the first few sunny spring days can earn such a character. Meticulous handling and judgmental oxidation makes this tea fine and extra ordinary.
4.White Peony: There are special days in the Spring when sunshine is at its best and the tea fields of Jasbirey shines like silver. The leaves are extra dry and when touched emits extraordinary sweet grassy vegetal aromas. White peony leaves are carefully picked during this time-slow warm air of spring is blown through these leaves and dried at different temperatures with accurate precision.
5.Ruby Black Tea: Ruby depicts “Fire”- the character of ruby is strength, aliveness and a lasting gentle finish. The culture of Ruby is quite old in this village. The women folk still makes this kind of tea at their homes and in Nepal could be unique only to Jasbirey Village. Usually Ruby is handrolled, completely oxidized, dried slowly and matured with time and perfection.
6.Himalayan Hand Rolled: Literally hand rolled with gentle small hands of beautiful women folks of Jasbirey is Himalayan Hand Roll. This tea is hand rolled specially after two rounds of pickings when the leaf cellulose structure is nimble and soft. To retain the natural qualities of the leaves such expensive method is applied with care and love. Himalayan hand roll emits mellow flowery aromas of different orchids and wild flowers that flourish in this region.
Note: The hills of Jasbirey stands parallel to the “Mai Pokhari Ramsar Site” a world heritage site in Nepal for wetlands. This tranquil environment makes the bio diversity of this place very unique, the pH of the water tested in Jasbirey is 7.2 and the ecology harbors many endangered species of wild flora and fauna.