Tasting experience: juicy, beautiful leaves reminiscent of high altitude Chinese blacks; expect rich notes of green raisins and birchwood.
ENTER BHUTAN! A most unusual tea origin.
Home of the highest unclimbed mountain in the world (Gangkhar Puensum) and 19 peaks that tower over 7000m above sea level, the stunning Kingdom of Bhutan had been in our team's bucket list for many years. Known as the 'Land of the Thunder Dragon', Bhutan stands out for many reasons:
- No stoplights. Thimpu is the only capital city (that we know of) that has not one single stoplight. With a population of just over 100,000, Thimpu's happy citizens have little trouble commuting without electronic traffic signals. They do, however, make road stops when happy cows block a road - which happens fairly often.
- Gross National Happiness:. this is the 1972 brainchild of HM Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the 4th King of Bhutan. He recognized that well-being is composed of many factors beyond (but including) economic development.
- The Divine Madman and Phallic Paintings: Drukpa Kunley was a 15th century Buddhist monk, poet and saint of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage. He was known to tame the wildest demons and guide people to enlightenment with arguably unorthodox methods. Drukpa Kunley is particularly famous for using his penis (referred to as 'the Thunderbolt of Flaming Wisdom) during his saintly duties; you will find paintings and statues depicting Drukpa Kunley's member all over Bhutan.
- A mesmerizing, probably millenary tea tradition that is barely known outside of Bhutan!
Harvest: April 2023
Process: oxidation, rolling
Origin: Samcholing, Trongsa, Bhutan
GPS: 27.4°N 90.5°E, ~1950m
'ZANGJA' is the Dzonkha term for 'premium leaves'. This style of tea crafting is fairly new in the country and uses very fresh, juicy spring leaves.
GROWERS:Ms. D. Pelden (below, left) leads Samcholing's Tea Growers' Cooperative. With roughly three dozen members, they grow and handcraft tea in stunning, relatively un-groomed gardens that date back to the 1970's.