What to know, the education sessions to attend and some booths to visit at World Tea Expo to get the full view of what’s happening with tea in Nepal today.
Nepal’s tea industry has recently undergone two major developments that are sure to make its tea more competitive in the global tea market. Nepal’s Tea and Coffee Development Board has put Nepal’s tea industry on the map by using a festival as a forum for establishing an identity and quality standards. Secondly, foreign aid was an impetus for enabling small-plantation and factory owners to work together to produce a premium final product.
In April, Nepal Tea and Coffee Development Board hosted the country’s third International Tea Festival, which was attended by about 35 tea buyers from around the world, including Europe, Asia, the United States and Australia. The festival kicked off for the tea industry delegates with a helicopter ride up to Mount Everest’s base camp at 17,598 feet above sea level. The group had a tea tasting on top of the world and witnessed the unveiling of the new logo for Nepal Tea that represents the new standards of quality. After returning from base camp, the delegates learned about Nepalese tea cultivation for 2-1/2 days, and then flew to Ilam in Eastern Nepal, where they visited tea producers and larger tea factories. The international tea community showed support for Nepal’s tea industry.
Nepalese tea is often mixed in with Darjeeling tea and marketed as Darjeeling, which is why Nepal’s establishment of an identity for its own tea is a pivotal step.
Tea grown in Nepal has distinctive characteristics because of the young plants used and the country’s environmental features.
“Nepal tea is softer and more layered,” said Jeni Dodd, owner of Jeni Dodd Tea and a Horizon Bardu Valley Tea and Factory business partner. “It has a much more satisfying mouth feel, it’s full and luscious without astringency.”
Dodd expounded on how the tea bushes in Nepal are 30 years old on average (younger than tea bushes in other regions) which “creates a vibrancy.” Tea farms are irrigated exclusively by runoff from the Himalayan mountains. The lack of industrialization in the tea growing areas of Nepal have kept the environment pristine and almost free of pollution.
Additionally, Nepalese tea farmers are prepared for success like never before. Funding from Denmark’s government has enabled Nepalese small growers to purchase equipment. “Suddenly, these small growers are really becoming the forefront of the tea industry there,” said Dodd.
“The small growers have always been the backbone of the tea industry, anyway, and now with the influx of money from the Danish government, the small stakeholders are starting to have their own ability to change the horizon in Nepal,” Dodd said.
Small landowners have more influence over their own livelihood and the way in which they interact with the global market. Now, farmers and large factory owners, most of whom are also Nepalese, work together on more equal footing than before. It is a symbiotic relationship, as the factory owners have more prior exposure to the world market and are familiar with international expectations.
Dodd said, “In my opinion, this balancing of the power structure is actually beneficial to everyone in the chain and should actually equate to a larger share of the global market for the entire industry, which means everyone should win.”
The Specialty Tea Association of Nepal, which represents small growers, will be in booth 834 at the World Tea Expo.
Dive Deeper With This World Tea Expo Session
Get to know Napalese tea better by attending this World Tea Expo conference session.
Nepal Tea: A Fierce Innovator and Marketplace Competitor will cover how Nepal is making world class organic and conventional teas, including specialty teas Wednesday, 06/13/2018: 10-11:10 a.m. June 13 in room227.
4 Must-see Booths at World Tea Expo
National Tea and Coffee Development Board of Nepal oversees and assists the tea industry in Nepal on several levels, including developing policy, problem solving and importing tools. The board will be in booth 814.
Nepal Tea LLC brings the finest, organic and high-mountain teas from Nepal and takes responsibility for the entire supply chain—from production to packaging and distribution. The company will be in booth 860.
Nepali Tea Traders sells fine, artisan teas grown exclusively in Nepal on organic farms or on farms working toward organic certification. The company will be in booth 212.
Specialty Tea Association of Nepal (S.T.A.N.) represents small tea farmers and will be in booth 834.