This year, Sips by is highlighting some of the over 150 tea brands we work with from around the world. We want to help you get to know the people who make your tea and their stories. This month, we talked to Nishchal Banskota, Founder and Owner of Nepal Tea. Nepal Tea has been partnered with Sips by since the very beginning, and their teas, like Nepali Breakfast, are consistent member favorites.
Sips by is a personalized tea discovery subscription. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Subscribers receive four teas chosen just for them in every box. Learn more here.
When was your company founded and where are you located?
Nepal Teas was founded in 2016 and is located in New York.
Please tell us about your company.
Nepal Tea is a social enterprise that distributes the finest high mountain organic teas from the foothills of Mt. Kanchanjangha, the third highest mountain in the world. Not only do we empower our farmers economically by providing them better revenues, but we also uplift them socially by providing free housing, free education to their children and distributing cows for additional income. On the other side, consumers receive fresh high-quality teas at a fair price and an opportunity to directly impact the underprivileged farmers.
What inspired you to start your business?
The biggest inspiration was to create an identity for Nepali teas while supporting the livelihoods of the farmers and creating thriving communities in the rural farms in Nepal. Furthermore, I wanted to connect the primary producers to the ultimate consumers.
How many employees do you have?
Just me in the US, but have a team of 10 people back home who help me throughout the business. Plus the approximately 200 amazing farmers and workers on the farm who work day and night to bring the finest Nepali teas to the US market.
How are your teas grown, harvested, sourced and (if applicable) blended? How involved are you in each step of the process?
We bring all of our teas directly from our own farm, Kanchanjangha Tea Estate, in eastern Nepal. Our teas are 100% organic and have been since its inception in 1984. We produce different varieties of teas throughout the year, excluding the severe winter months of November through February.
What makes teas from Nepal different than other types of tea?
Nepal Teas are quite different in terms of climate, the bushes and most importantly the people. Let me explain that a little more. The climate because all of our teas are grown in the foothills of Mt. Kanchanjangha, which is the third highest mountain in the world. Our teas are considered high-mountain teas that are plucked at an elevation of 4500 to 6000 feet. The fresh, unpolluted air combined with the cold misty winds from the Himalayas pose as the ideal climatic conditions for the tea bushes.
Furthermore, our tea bushes are very young (approximately 40 years old) compared to the more matured tea industries in other part of the world. The young bushes in organic topography of the soil nurtured in such high elevation give an amazing floral and fresh taste to all of our teas.
Lastly, the people who are in the tea industry in Nepal generally own the land that they farm in and take care of these tea bushes are their own babies, which is the number one reason, how our farming methods differ from various other parts of the world.
What makes your company different from other tea companies?
We pride ourselves on being a social enterprise that does not view tea as a commodity, but rather as a catalyst for social change and a means to creating thriving communities in the farms. Furthermore, we believe that tea is a beverage that will eventually connect the primary producers to the ultimate consumers.
Does your company have any social initiatives?
Yes, our company believes social initiatives to be a core mission function rather than a side CSR wing of the company. For more info, please visit us here.
What is your relationship to tea? When and how did you become a tea drinker?
I was in fact born on our tea farm in 1991. So I was naturally addicted to tea. However, my relationship to tea is so much more than a beverage. I believe tea is the catalyst for social change and it has become my mission in life to make it happen.
If you could only drink one type of tea for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Our classic Kanchanjangha Noir Black Tea. Nothing can beat this everyday tea which so reminds me why tea is not just a normal beverage!
Do you have any insider tips for brewing the best cup of tea?
Try to find out exactly where the tea that you are brewing came from and if possible remember the faces of the farmers that work every single day to bring you that tea, any tea will become the best of tea that you had!
Learn more about Nepal Teas:
About Sips by: We’re a female-founded and led startup that makes discovering tea fun, personalized, and affordable. The Sips by Box is the only multi-brand, personalized tea subscription box. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Based out of Austin, Texas, we are adept at savoring a hot mug even when it’s seasonally inappropriate.