I’ve slept wonderfully. It’s funny because this bed is so much better than the one in Kathmandu, but still horrible.
However, somehow, I manage to come out of bed feeling peaceful and well rested. Haha. I walk downstairs and order myself a cup of tea and a baked egg. I enjoy eating them while looking out over the plantation. I’ve been working for a while when my guide walks in. Today we’ll be visiting the plantation and factory at the foot of the hotel. Weird that you can walk outta the hotel and find yourself in the middle of a tea plantation.
This factory is the first tea factory in Nepal together with its farm. This makes the place more authentic! The whole process is shown, from plucking to processing. The tea master is an elderly man, yet he speaks good English and shows me the tips and tricks. Smells, colours and structures are all taken into consideration when looking at the leaf. Sometimes he opens a window, or closes a door or puts the blower on; all in favour of getting the optimal environment for the leaves.
Today we’re here with a big group. We’ve got the chauffeur, a guy who organises tastings at locations, the owner/guide and me. So that’s really comfortable. I can ask anything. We walk out of the factory, and right there, in the middle of the field, they’ve set up a tasting table. Because it’s nice weather we’ll be tasting the new harvest inbetween baby bushes. Can life get any better than this? It smells, tastes and feels so amazing! Roasted green tea. Too roasted for my Crusio Tea assortment, but I’ve learnt that it is possible in Nepal! They listen very precisely to their customers needs, and even grow/process exactly to their needs. This isn’t something they do in other countries.
Then a Jeep pulls up, and asks if I would mind to go to a higher point. Haha. Mind? Get here! I éstash my bag in the back, keep my camera in my hand, and put on my sunglasses. Get me on that mountain. First we drive to a point from which we can see the whole area, and it makes me.. Speechless. I know it might sound cliché, but it’s so beautiful here. Breathtakingly beautiful. It’s like you feel more alive when there’s something so beautiful in front of you. We take a few pictures, admire the sight, and drive on. This road isn’t that bad to drive on, I think to myself. They did mention something about the road being impassable. Well, this ain’t impassable to me, I think. They must’ve exaggerated. Oh.. After about 15 minutes I’d like to take back my words. We dart over a unpaved, muddy hill bridge, and that’s when I realise I had maybe, slightly, or actually just severely misjudged it all. Impassable was a nice way to put it. If you want quality roads, you will have to climb up the mountain. At own risk. I’m being thrown from one side of the backseat to the other. Wanna be let in on a little secret though? I am loving it.
rough road writing
We rise and rise and encounter many more tea fields. At each tea field we take a break and learn more about subvarieties and different methods.I especially learn a lot about organic tea. The farmers here have decided to step over to the organic side. They’re not always certified to do this, partly because it costs a lot of money. They do all keep to the same methods and ways of working though. How do you tell the difference, I ask? The guide takes us out to the field and shows us the plants. We watch. We see ladybirds, wild strawberries growing out in between the bushes, and buttercups too. They wouldn’t survive the pesticides. He tells us that there’s a lot of fireflies too, these only live in healthy environments. Yet another indication that it’s all done the healthy way here. All things aside, you can feel, see and taste that it’s all organic here. Good stuff. It’s better for the tea too, I learn. We drive from farm to farm, and I end up learning so much in a day. One downside to my Jeep adventure; try writing things down when roads are rough and you’re practically flying inside the car. I still try, because I want the fresh memories to not be forgotten. It ends up looking really scruffy, but hey, atleast it’s in there for now. Oh, you ask where those scruffy notes went to? I’ll tell you.. It’s this blog haha.
This blog is about Crusio Tea No. 015 - White Sandakphu and No.18 - Himalayan Gold.