Kickstarting Nepal

Some of my readers are other tea bloggers, and so I’ll just suggest right now, that sometimes it’s hard to keep up.

I have a vaguely once-a-week goal and usually I stick to it. I usually write Sunday Morning Australian time, and sometimes if I have a busy Sunday, I can skip a week. Sometimes if I get excited or angry enough mid-week, I’ll throw a blog out with great speed.

I know there are bloggers who plan every blog; who have their posts written eight weeks in advance. I don’t understand why, but I respect it. Well, a bit. But if I have something to say, I want to say it NOW! or even if I have nothing to say…

Anyway, sometimes this means I plan on writing things and …don’t.

Last year I wrote a piece about people who ask me to review some teas, and then suddenly realise that I am in Australia, and decide to withdraw the request (and the tea), presumably as my opinion is not worth the postage. (sometimes people want me to do this and ask me to pay the postage, which does give me a giggle).

After that I got two requests and on both occasions, they actually got it right. A few weeks later I wrote about the fact I felt I should do some reviews in yet another post.

I did review two books, but at the end of the day, I spent more time talking about reviewing than reviewing.

My conscience, and also a guy previously referred to on one of those posts as “some guy from Nepal” have been nagging at me. The latter very politely about once a month, the former at inconvenient times like in the shower or driving across the outback* or while performing life saving operations**.

So, his name is Nishchal, and we have a problem. And when I say we, I mean I have caused it, but we both have it.

The tea came direct, so no fancy packaging, not even the proper product names. This bag had “Black tea” on it! Nishchal did send me a list of them, though.

He sent me tea, not from his US base, but direct from Nepal. And I drank it. And loved it. Pretty well all of it.

Months ago!

Did I take notes? No. Did I make any scientific comparisons? Hardly. I just left the bowl in the kitchen, and within a week had scoffed all of the blacks and oolongs. I distinctly remember enjoying them all, some more than others. Which ones? Not sure.

I did like the Kumara Gold, that name has stuck. After having a friend over for a Sunday breakfast, I brewed the Green Pearls, and I remember that one. It was fantastic. Quite like a gunpowder but smooth and a touch creamy and we just couldn’t stop drinking it.

So yesterday morning, I dug around in the back of the cupboard, and found two remnants. One was about 2 grams of Kanchanjangha Noir, and  the Ganesha Green.

I’m drinking the green now, and it’s more like a light oolong to me. It has a creaminess to it, but not strong or heavy. Like the light cream you pour on a small cake when you are dieting***. It’s really pleasant and a good first up cuppa this morning.

Anyway, you get why I haven’t published a review so far. Disorganised. Distracted. Accidentally drinking a dozen samples without noticing. That sort of thing.

So why now?

Well, it Nishchal’s latest email, he mentions a Kickstarter campaign.

Let me tell you, when we tea bloggers are sipping and chatting away in the background, Kickstarters come up a lot. And often, we don’t like them. Whether it’s someone who wants half a million bucks to build a factory to churn out $2000 tea makers or a trio of hipsters from Monaco that are funding an ultraviolet-lit tea shop in a submerged cave under the Mediterranean, a lot of us look with a bit of a squint at crowdfunding.

Sure, sometimes it’s done well and is basically just an advanced ordering mechanism for good stuff, but often it’s just people offering little value and trying to start a business where they make all the profit but take none of the fiscal risk.

I’ve checked this one out, and I can’t say I object to much of it.

Nepal Teas LLC seems to have the aim of raising the profile of Nepali teas and reinvesting the money back into community development into Nepal. They want to create an organic certified warehouse in New Jersey (presumably to be able to call on Nicole Martin of Tea For Me Please‘s expertise) and do some other worthy stuff.

I am properly horrified at the $10 ‘bonus’ being teab*gs – what a shameful idea – but the rest of it seems quite worthy.

The kickstarter is here if you are interested and you should make up your own mind. I don’t personally endorse it, but I don’t object to it, which was a far more likely outcome on a tea-related crowdsourcing campaign.

It’s already beaten its target so full marks to them.

So, what have we learned from this long, rambling post?

  1. Send me tea and sometimes I will enjoy it and share that
  2. Nag me a little and I’ll get there

I hope all goes well for Nishchal and his enterprise. Tea can make a positive difference. And here’s the thing: it’s not Unilver, Tata et al – the big conglomerates who stuff bad tea in bags by the millions making a genuine and positive difference. It’s often the smaller, country- and community-centric enterprises that actually make the world a better place, by offering better wages and conditions, education and other benefits back home, and great tea in the international marketplace.

I still have a lovely aftertaste from that green, and for some reason,. I now want light cream and a small cake.


*Well, close to the outback

** Life saving operations on spearmint plants in the hot weather to be exact

*** I could be doing dieting wrong

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