Exploring Jasbire in Nepal's Tea Garden

Exploring Jasbire Ilam: A Journey Through Nepal's Tea Gardens

In the eastern hills of Nepal, the tea gardens of Jasbire Ilam are more than just a beautiful sight; they represent a deep cultural heritage and a dedication to the art of tea making. This blog shares our heartfelt experiences and insights from our time among these stunning gardens.

Jasbire and Its Special Tea Culture

Jasbire is a place located high up in the mountains (1,839 meters) near Limbunidhara and Chapgairi in the Ilam district of Province 1, Nepal. Jasbire is not just a place; it’s a lively community where tea plays a central role. Famous for some of the world's best teas, this area has a long history connected with Nepal’s broader cultural traditions. The tea here is grown organically, and the unique tastes are shaped by the local weather and soil.

The Rich History of Tea in Jasbire Ilam

The practice of growing tea in Jasbire Ilam goes back a long way, starting with influences from the nearby Darjeeling but eventually developing its own unique methods. These traditions have helped make Jasbire’s tea famous around the world for its quality.

What Makes Jasbire Tea Special?

Women plucking teas in Jasbire Tea Garden in Ilam, Nepal

Plucking teas 

Jasbire tea is loved for its rich smells and complex tastes, which include notes of orchids, musk, and a hint of spice. This unique flavor comes from the perfect mix of high altitude, good weather, and fertile soil, along with the hard work and knowledge of local farmers.

Our Trip to the Jasbire Ilam Tea Gardens

A man standing in the middle of Jasbire Tea Garden in Ilam, Nepal

Jasbire Tea Garden

Planning Our Visit

Our trip was fueled by a wish to connect directly with the place and people behind our favorite teas. We prepared by finding out the best times to visit and trying to understand the local culture, to fully soak in the tea garden experience.

Arriving in Jasbire Ilam

When we first arrived, we were greeted by the endless stretches of green tea plants and the fresh, sweet smell of tea in the air. The calm hills and the lively chatter of the local tea workers were welcoming and invigorating.

A Walk Through the Gardens

Walking through the tea gardens was a treat for all senses—the endless green, the sound of leaves rustling, and the soft earth under our feet. This calm yet lively atmosphere was one of the highlights of our visit.

Jasbire Tea Estate: A Legacy of Passion and Perseverance

During our visit to the Jasbire Ilam tea gardens, we had the privilege of knowing the histroy of Sharad Subba, the founder of the Jasbire Tea Estate. Sharad's journey is a testament to passion, dedication, and perseverance, not just for his own dreams, but for his community.

Building a Legacy

Sharad Subba didn't always manage a tea estate. His journey began as a producer of standard black teas at Mai Tea Factory for nine years. However, Sharad had a bigger vision—to create an estate that specialized in unique, high-quality teas. This dream began to take shape when he met Sonam Paljor Lama, his mentor and advisor at the Sandakphu Tea Factory.

Sonam introduced Sharad to the emerging wave of orthodox tea production among small farmers in Nepal, fueled by the UNNATI agro-project based in Denmark. Inspired, Sharad founded the Jasbire Tea Estate, dedicating it to specialty tea production.

Meeting Sujan Limbu

Meeting with Mr. Sujan Limbu

Meeting with Mr. Sujan Limbu

During our visit, we had the privilege of meeting Sujan Limbu, the manager of the Jasbire Tea Estate. Sujan guided us through the estate, showing us the tea gardens and providing insights into the production process. His dedication to the estate and its mission was evident throughout our tour.

The Thrilling Beginning of Jasbire Tea Estate

A man withering teas in Jasbire Tea Estate

Processing the tea

Sharad started with old equipment and a small team, aiming to produce some of Nepal's finest tea while supporting local farmers and workers. Despite initial challenges, including a major storm that damaged much of their equipment, the estate thrived through sheer determination and hard work. The entire team came together to repair and rebuild, modifying old machines to keep production going.

The Passionate Team Behind the Tea 

What makes the Jasbire Tea Estate stand out is not just the quality of its tea but the people who produce it. Sharad has built a passionate team that cares deeply about every step of the process, from picking the leaves to processing and packaging. Their dedication is contagious, reflected in the bright smiles and meticulous care they put into every task.

The Impact of Jasbire Tea Estate on the Community

Danfe Tea's team with Jasbire tea factory team members

Team with Jasbire Tea Estate

Today, Jasbire Tea Estate is a cornerstone of the Jasbire community. It not only provides jobs but also invests in local initiatives and offers training programs for young people interested in tea production. Sharad's success has brought prosperity to the entire region, enriching both the local economy and the professional development of its workers.

Brewing Hope and Prosperity

Every cup of tea from the Jasbire Tea Estate carries a story of hope and hard work. For Sharad and his team, it's about creating a legacy of prosperity and positivity that enriches everyone involved.

Expanding Horizons

Jasbire Tea Estate's teas are now in demand across the globe, including the USA, France, Denmark, and Australia. Certified organic by CERES under USDA and JAS guidelines, the estate continues to focus on producing high-quality, specialty teas.

Our meeting with Sharad Subba and his team was a profound insight into what makes the Jasbire Tea Estate a beacon of passion and perseverance in the heart of Nepal's tea country. Their story is a reminder that behind every cup of tea are the dreams and hard work of real people.

Tasting Jasbire Tea: Our Experience

Tasting Notes

Each sip of Jasbire tea brings a burst of complex flavors—sweet, floral, and a bit spicy. During our tastings, we enjoyed discovering new tastes with each cup, each one telling its own story of where it came from.

How to Enjoy Tea

To really enjoy the tea, it’s important to notice its color, smell, and texture, not just the taste. Enjoying tea here involves all your senses, letting you appreciate the depth and richness of each type.

Sustainable Tea Farming in Jasbire

Environmental Efforts in Tea Production

In Jasbire Ilam, sustainability is key. Farmers use methods that keep the environment safe, making sure the soil and water stay clean. These practices not only make the tea taste better but also make it healthier.

How Sustainability Improves Tea Quality

Focusing on eco-friendly practices helps keep the natural environment healthy, which in turn keeps the tea’s natural flavors and health benefits strong. This commitment to the environment is a big part of what makes Jasbire tea so special.

Conclusion

The tea gardens of Jasbire Ilam offer more than scenic beauty; they are a testament to Nepal's deep-rooted cultural heritage and commitment to the art of tea making. Our journey through these gardens and our meeting with Sujan Limbu and his dedicated team have shown us the passion, perseverance, and community spirit that go into each cup of Jasbire tea. The unique flavors and aromas, a result of both natural factors and sustainable farming practices, make this tea stand out. More importantly, behind every sip lies a story of dreams, hard work, and resilience, making the experience of enjoying Jasbire tea truly remarkable.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.