Handcrafted Green Tea
Led by community leader Purna Mukhiya, Hariyali Cooperative is an independent grower seeking to make a name for Nepal on the international tea stage. Tea has been growing here for many decades, even before the establishment of the cooperative and its shared-use facilities.
As a result, many of the teamakers here are some of the most knowledgeable handcrafters in Nepal, having inherited the skills from their parents and grandparents. Sharad Subba, one of the most skilled crafters, is the son of one of the village's "Mothers of Tea", a group of women who have been making tea for decades. Hariyali's teamakers have learned to intuitively handle tea leaves, changing the crafting of various batches of tea to suit the personality of each tea field's harvest.
In the typical collaborative Nepalese spirit, some of the teamakers have gone on to share tea knowledge with many other cooperatives in Nepal.
The tea plants are grown at high altitude, with wonderfully fertile soil that seems alive with bugs, native plants, and wildflowers. The farmers of the cooperative grow with all-natural methods, using natural manures. The name "Hariyali" describes a beautiful, vivid green landscape.
Hariyali Cooperative is located near Mai Pokhari, a beautiful lake of great religious and natural significance. Purna Mukhiya's grandfather and grandmother were key to establishing the lake as a spiritual ground.
- Origin: Jasbirey Village - Ilam, Nepal
- Grower/Teamaster: Hariyali Cooperative/Sarad Subba
- Elevation: 1,600m (5,200ft)
- Harvest Date: October 2015 - Autumn Flush
- Cultivar: Camellia Sinensis Assamica
- Cultivation: Natural (Organic, but no certification)
- Plucking Standard: Buds and down to second leaf; after processing and steeping mostly unattached whole leaves
- History/Pedigree: Unusual teas are becoming common in Nepal, where tea makers, without much influence from other regions, have developed their own teas through trial and error. This Fall 2015 harvest is the first batch ever offered by Hariyali Cooperative. The tea has been in-development since Spring 2015, and was improved over time, thanks in part to feedback from the Tealet buyer network. Thank you for being a part of direct-trade tea!
- Moonshine has a soft, sweet-savory profile, somewhat similar to Chinese Bi Luo Chun. The liquor has a cream-of-corn character, with its smooth, slightly brothy texture and the mix of sweet, savory, and salty notes. The finish is clean, with a slight dryness.
Find it on the website here.
Get the last of this amazing Yame harvest: Gyokuro and SenchaI am down to less than a pound of both the Sencha and the Gyokuro from this amazing grower. And these teas from this great year still taste amazing. Here are some more facts about this grower:
- Gyokuro champions - The family specializes in gyokuro, and has won multiple national awards. Akio Kurihara, the younger son, also regularly competes in handmade tea championships.
- Yame, Japan - The family lives in Yame, an area ideal for tea. It is the tea growing region with the highest elevation in Japan. Because of the extremes of heat and cold, the plants produce compounds to protect themselves. As a result, Yame teas are more fragrant and flavorful.
- The Kurihara Family are third generation tea farmers - Their grandfather started the farm in their home village after World War 2, in the 1940s. Older brother Yuji helps maintain the farm and admin work, while younger brother Akio crafts the teas.
- Award-winning lot - the 2014 Yame Gyokuro Premium was the Japanese Tea Gold Medal Champion, as evaluated by a panel of expert tasters during NATC 2014 in Niagara Falls. The judges said that this tea blew all other entries out of the water - it was a clear and decisive favorite by miles.