Nepali tea. History and the Jun Chiyabari garden

← Return to all blogs

Traditionally, when asked to list the main tea producing countries of the world, Nepal doesn’t automatically come to mind. In fact, Nepal has been producing tea for years and you may not have even realised you were drinking it.

Nepali Tea

Darjeeling is so close to Nepal, that some Darjeeling tea gardens are just a hop, skip and a jump away from the border. You may even be able to see a Nepalese tea field from a Darjeeling one.

Large quantities of green [tea] leaf grown in Nepal every year are smuggled over the border into India, and bought by Darjeeling factories via middlemen to manufacture Darjeeling tea.

Darjeeling teas are highly sought after and have traditionally commanded a much higher price, so it’s a way of Nepali farmers getting a better price for their green leaves. With the growing conditions so similar, Nepali tea is by no means the poor relation, but as it’s not usually disclosed by Darjeeling factories, it does mean that it’s not had its due credit so far. We think it’s time for that to change.

Tea from the source

Our policy at Canton Tea is to source our tea directly from the tea farm. It ensures that it is authentic, fresh and full of flavour. It also means that the farmers, the skilled teapickers, and our customers get a fair deal. To find out more about this you can read our blog on how we source tea.

Nepal tea revolution

In recent years small tea farms making handmade teas are popping up in Nepal and are developing their own styles of tea, distinct from the teas of their well-known neighbours. Now is an exciting time for the Nepalese Camelia Sinensis industry. At the forefront of this revolution is the pioneering Jun Chiyabari Tea Garden, and we are so excited to have sourced our first Nepali tea directly from there.

In 2000, brothers Bachan and Lochan decided they would start a tea garden in Nepal. Though neither of them had any experience in the tea industry, they had both been to school in Darjeeling, so had grown up surrounded by tea gardens and factories. Throwing caution to the wind, between 2000 and 2001 they began reconnaissance missions on foot to the remote areas of east Nepal to find the perfect spot. In 2001 the Jun Chiyabari Tea Garden was established outside the town of Hile in the Dhankuta district (North 27o 01′ East 087o 19′).

The garden is spread over 75 hectares (50 of which are planted) of lush Himalayan hillsides, ranging from 1600m – 2000m. The fields were planted out with cultivars from all around the tea producing world; locally available cultivars like AV2, Darjeeling cultivars such as T1, T78 and Phoobshering 312, Yabukita came from Japan and Si Ji Chun from Taiwan amongst many others. Expert skills and knowledge were also brought in from outside. Garden managers who had formerly worked at the best Darjeeling tea gardens began to oversee production and they were also trained by Taiwanese and Japanese Tea Masters. So the incredible and innovative teas produced by Jun Chiyabari are no happy accident, they are a carefully considered and cultivated labour of love.

The philosophy of Jun Chiyabari tea garden

“In the field, we believe in sustainable farming practices with emphasis on bio-diversity and commitment to organic cultivation. Our support to the local community which includes farmers, local schools, children and old people’s home is well known. We have supplied computers to local school and are giving scholarships to some local girls. Further for our workers we have interest free loans for good income generating schemes. This is administered by a committee of workers and management. Through these income generating loans workers have established shops and some are in the process of buying cows.”

“All of these together constitutes and underpins our tea philosophy and gives Jun Chiyabari a well-respected name in the community.”

But is Nepali tea any good?

So, on to Jun Chiyabari tea. Last year we featured Nepali Himalayan Black in our Limited Edition collection, and it sold out fast. We bought it quite simply because of the stunning flavour. ‘A rich cup full of chocolate, muscovado and muscatel grapes’ and absolutely nothing like a First Flush Darjeeling. When asked about the making process of the tea, Bachan replied:

“Not in keeping with the traditional Darjeeling black tea making practices as we move away to create a style that is unique to Jun Chiyabari Tea Garden. Part of the reason why we opt to not disclose the full manufacturing process.”

Fair enough we say, as long as the tea tastes this good, we don’t mind a bit of mystery.

Nepali Himalayan Black looseleaf tea from the Jun Chiyabari Tea Garden has now sold out. Further tea from Jun Chiyabari may be available in future Limited Edition collections. For more information please contact your Canton account manager.

Photo credit: Jun Chiyabari

Recent journals

COVID-19 Safety Statement

Boost Your Tea Revenue

How to Make Your Tea Service More Sustainable

Hey Restaurants: Give Tea a Chance

How To Create An Award Winning Tea Service

Next Generation Water Boilers

The Three T's

Top Teas for Tea Cocktails

Recipe: Wild Vietnamese Old Fashioned

Canton Wild Vietnamese Cinnamon In Pictures

Why You Should Offer Retail Tea in Your Cafe

New Canton Retail Cubes

Canton's Plastic-Free Pyramid Teabags

Recipe: 'Flamingo' Tea Cocktail

Recipe: Canton Matcha Affogato

Recipe: Canton Mediterranean Tea and Tonic

Canton Supplier: The Obubu Tea Garden

Canton Matcha Cooler

Super Simple Iced Tea

Canton Tea and the invention of English Breakfast

Golden Week: A goldmine for afternoon tea sales

The Canton Veganuary guide to dairy-free tea

Mulled Canton Berry and Hibiscus Recipe

The Wolseley Tea Caddies

Tea antioxidants and free radicals

Canton signature tea cocktail

Is green tea good for you?

Canton is hiring

Canton Chocolate Noir and the vanilla dilemma

The chemical profiles of different tea styles

Plastic free tea

The Wolseley launches Canton sparkling tea

Where to enjoy Afternoon Tea Week

Tea: the magical ingredient - in beer

Canton Tea at The Wolseley

A guide to Chinese green tea

More than just a new look

5 hotels we love to visit

Canton Tea at World of Coffee Amsterdam

The perfect English Breakfast tea blend

Matcha Peachu cocktail recipe

Genmaicha and Japanese tea history

Teas of the eighteenth century English tea trade

How to make the perfect cup of English Breakfast

Iced Matcha Latte Recipe

Tea and caffeine - myth and truth

A guide to Chinese black tea

Psychopomp x Canton

Wild teas and wild herbs from remote regions

Nepali tea. History and the Jun Chiyabari garden

The best gluten free bakery in London?

Where to buy Canton tea to enjoy at home

The most sought-after Japanese green tea?

The season, flush and flavour of Darjeeling

Beyond fairtrade in Taiwan

Ethical and responsible sourcing of tea

Open Weave Tea House

From poppies to roses

The tea that began it all: Pouchong

Is Canton Tea organic?

How to brew Chinese tea