NEPAL PRATHAMA is a first flush white tea from Phidim village, Panchthar district, Province 1, Nepal. "Prathama"—first in Sanskrit—isn't an established white tea style, but is the designation given by our producer to their earliest spring production of white tea after winter dormancy. Designed by our producer at Kanchanjangha tea farm, PRATHAMA is essentially a bai mudan white tea, save one fascinating step in production—a 15 minute hand-rolling to encourage oxidation. (Not unlike oolong tea!) But while this tea undergoes a light bruising prior to drying, it doesn't oxidize enough (or receive any kind of roast/real shaping) to move it into oolong territory. Our first Nepali production ever, we pulled this off the cupping table after noticing its layered floral qualities and distinctive mouthfeel.
Grown at a staggering 1800 meters on the mountain slopes of Phidim, PRATHAMA benefits from a Nepali microclimate that enhances the typically sought after characteristics of white tea: sweetness, dainty flower and fruit notes, and gummy body. High elevation, high stress conditions produce teas with ample sugars and significant florality, and coupled with the age of the trees—a mere 40 years!—makes for bright, aromatic tea with "young" tasting qualities perfect for white tea. Already floral as young teas grown at high elevation tend to be, PRATHAMA's unique oxidation process lends unusual depth to its aroma and flavor, and reads on the nose almost like a scented white tea. This tea is not stubborn; steep carefully, tending lower temperature for less time.
vintage — spring '22
style — prathama ("first")
cultivar —AV-2 / phoobsering / betjan
region —Phidim, Panchthar, Province 1, Nepal
locale —Kanchanjangha tea farm
elevation — 1800 meteres
producer — Nikesh Gurung
nomenclature — PRATHAMA (प्रथम)—"FIRST"
(use freshly boiled spring water)
modern, large format [300 ml+ vessel — BOLI, large teapot]
3 grams — 190°F (88°C) — 2 minutes
traditional, small format [150 ml- vessel —gaiwan, small teapot]
4 grams — 190°F (88°C) — 20 seconds (no rinse) + 25-30 seconds each additional steep