Drink to Your Good Health With Nepali Tea
Enjoyed for its unique flavor, tantalizing aroma and therapeutic qualities, tea is one of the world’s favorite beverages. Nepal has a long history of cultivating and processing tea, starting in the hilly district of Ilam in 1863. The climatic and geographical conditions in this picturesque part of Nepal can be compared to that of Darjeeling, India’s prime tea growing region. In addition to Ilam, other tea growing regions in Nepal are Jhapa, Panchthar, Terhathum and Dhankuta.
While there are many blends labeled as tea available on supermarket shelves, connoisseurs of this age-old brew agree that only the leaves of the tea plant Camellia sinensis can be considered to be true tea. However, there are a number of factors that influence the quality of tea, including where it is grown, what has been used to fertilize the tea bushes, pest-control methods and when the leaves are harvested. Although certain criteria may be used to determine the quality of tea, it all comes down to the taste-test and consumer preferences when the tea is marketed.
Tea leaves are identified by the season in which they are harvested. The first picking between February and mid-April is referred to as Spring Flush, with the tea being light red in color, tinged with yellow-green. With its mild flavor and aroma, Spring Flush is classed by tea connoisseurs as an afternoon tea. In May and June the Summer Flush is harvested with the tea made from these leaves having a stronger aroma and taste, considered to be the perfect late afternoon brew. June and July sees the harvesting of the Monsoon Flush, offering a tea with a deep red color and brisk flavor – ideal as a morning or pick-me-up brew. The Autumn Flush is the last harvesting of the season and the resulting tea has a rich copper color, with a strong aroma and refreshing flavor.
As well as being a flavorful and uplifting beverage, tea has a number of health benefits due to the antioxidants and polyphenols found in it. While research is ongoing, results thus far indicate that people who drink two or three cups of black tea each day have a reduced risk of having a fatal heart attack or stroke, apparently because the aromatic brew helps prevent blood clots forming and assists in keeping arteries smooth. A 10-year study noted that phytochemicals in tea are beneficial for strengthening bones. Although it must be noted that sugar should be avoided as this negates any potential benefits. Green tea, which is made from minimally processed Camellia sinensis, has long been promoted for its health benefits, as well as its ability to boost metabolism and aid weight loss. So, put on the kettle and enjoy an aromatic cup of Nepali tea.