Nepal Hills Tea- A second generation effort

History

In the year 1990, a school teacher Dev Kumar, witnesses small tea plantations around hills of “Shri Antu”, Illam, Nepal. After discussing with the farmers around, he comes to know that this new cash crop has changed the livelihood of the farmers in that region. While larger (commercial) tea plantation existed in the region of Illam, commercial farming seemed not feasible to small farmers as there were no tea producing factories around. Farmers used to hand roll teas from few shrubs in their garden to make teas. Overtime he comes to know that raw tea leaves can be sold to factories located in Darjeeling, India. 

Bhaskar and Bhushit as Kids

Image: Bhaskar (Founder-Nepal Hills Tea) and His brother Bhushit as kids. Notice in the background-No tea Plantation

In the year 1993, Dev decides to convert some portion of his rolling hills into Tea plantation area. Dev along with some locals visit various tea estates in Darjeeling and Shri Antu region and bring cuttings to start nursery of tea plants.

Bhaskar and Bhushit

Image: Founder Bhaskar and his brother as kids.

In Year 1998 plantation is completed in around 4 acres of hills and slowly after that villagers follow the leader. By Year 2002, production of loose-leaf teas starts and is sold to factories in Darjeeling and some commercial scale factories in Illam Nepal.

Dahal Family- Dev Kumar, Durga, Bhaskar, Bhushit

Image: Family (Dev, Durga and sons)

Between years 1996- 2006, there is Maoist Insurgency in Nepal. Combined with the armed conflict and price gouging from the commercial factory owners, farmers face challenges in selling their raw tea leaves and at times had to pick the tea leaves and throw them costing them hundreds of thousands in losses. 

See tye changing hills

Image: Changing landscape, young Bhaskar alongside young tea plantation

In the year 2012, Dev along with some farmer partners establish a small factory to utilize their green leaves. A team of tea makers is hired from Darjeeling. They start manufacturing Black Loose-leaf teas and selling to brokers in Calcutta, India. In the year 2018, they sell the tea company to a prospector. 


Image: Changing landscape, teen Bhaskar - Lush artisan tea gardens

In the year 2015, Bhushit (youngest Son), starts training on tea production and artisan tea making. His experience later translates to “Chiyabari Bhanjhyang Tea Processing Company”, in 2020. 


Image: Bhushit working in his artisanal tea factory, withering teas

Parallelly, after moving to Canada in 2015, the elder son Bhaskar establishes “Nepal Hills Tea” to showcase the teas from the eastern hills of Nepal in 2020. First small batch import begins in the year 2021 showcasing “Black and Green” Artisan Teas. 

 

In the year 2022, after visiting multiple artisan suppliers, Norling Specialty Tea is selected as the second supplier. Small batch import from Norling starts on the same year.

Recent 2022 Visit

Image: Nepal Visit 2022, Bhushit( Left), Bibhu (Bhaskar's spouse) and Bhaskar. Kanyam tea garden in the background 

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