An organic white tea with a juicy body and fresh, lingering finish. Made from ancient tea bushes in the early spring, this tea straddles the line between traditional white and green. We’re working with Kumaon tea farmers to launch their region’s first farmer-owned tea factory to make this tea, which is also available as a loose-leaf tea.
Tasting Notes: Peeled cucumber & honeydew melon
Origin: Kumaon, North Indian Himalayas
Tea Maker: Champawat Village
Steep 1 8 oz | 180 F | 3 min
Steep 2 8 oz | 210 F | 4 min
Certifications: USDA Organic
Taste: As the least processed tea type, many white teas end up so delicate that they are almost flavorless. Thankfully, not this tea! Our organic Kumaon White has juicy notes of honeydew melon with a bright body that makes it shine. Made in spring, the tea captures the floral, clean aromas of new growth. As it steeps, the leaf releases vegetal notes of peeled cucumber, blurring the line between traditional green and white teas. While the tea ages, it gains a smooth depth, so as long as it’s stored well, you can enjoy this tea for years to come! Drinkers of White Peony (Bai Mudan) or Green Jasmine Pearls will enjoy this tea.
Production: The best white teas are made in spring. In Kumaon, that’s typically late March or early April. Tea farmers exercise great care to protect the harvested leaf from damage as it is moved in bamboo baskets from their tea gardens to the processing site. Unlike green and black teas, white teas undergo no rolling, keeping the flavors locked in the leaf. The taste of Organic Kumaon White can be partially attributed to the power of the ancient tea trees that are harvested for this tea. The British planted seeds brought from China (or smuggled, depending on who is telling the story) in the 1830s, making them some of the oldest tea bushes in India. We’re especially proud of this tea, because we played a role in its creation: in 2015, we asked a local tea maker named Desmond Birkbeck if he could make us a white tea from his family’s garden. At the time, he hadn’t heard of white tea, so was intrigued by the challenge. Standing around a cupping table in a local processing facility, we drank a sample of white peony tea from China. Desmond crushed the tea in his hand, breathed in the aromas and said “If this is what you want, I can do it.” Today, we’re proud to be the only importer of Kumaon White in the world.
Region: Tucked in the Himalayan foothills, Kumaon sits just on the border of Nepal, making it one of the most isolated Indian tea regions. When the British introduced tea to India in the 1830s, they were drawn to Kumaon because of its well-drained, acidic soils. The plant thrived on the adopted slopes, but the region’s remoteness prevented the British from moving the tea from the mountains to the port. By the 1920s, the British began to abandon or sell the promising-but-isolated Kumaon tea gardens. The Birkbeck family bought a garden, and for several decades, they were the sole torchbearer of Kumaon tea. In the 1990s, the local government joined forces with the Birkbecks to help other local communities grow tea, and sold the Kumaon teas in the auction. Then in 2015, we brought over the first lot of Kumaon teas to the US, making us the first US importer of Kumaon teas. Today we’re excited to continue the work of introducing Kumaon teas across the globe.
Tea Makers: Desmond Birkbeck comes from the only family that stayed in tea after the British pulled out in the 1920s. Desmond grew up on his family’s tea garden named Chirapani, which means “split water” and is named for the waterfall at the top of their tea garden. Desmond proudly tells the story of writing to the Tea Board of India when he was 14 years old, requesting that his family’s tea garden be able to sell into the Kolkata auctions. Now he is a leading force in his village and the Kumaon region, working to use tea to uplift local tea farmers.
Impact: Today, 90% of Kumaon tea farmers are women. These farmers, in partnership with local government, have reclaimed abandoned land with organic tea bushes. We’re working with Kumaon tea growers to launch their region’s first farmer-owned tea factory, and contribute 1% of all our sales to the success of this factory. The Kumaon region is also near and dear to our hearts, because it was here that Raj, our founder, was inspired to launch Young Mountain Tea.
Packaging: Every part of this product can be disposed of sustainably. The carton is made from 100% recycled cardboard and is recyclable. The envelopes are made from compostable material, and the tea bag, tag, and string are made from 100% biodegradable sugarcane. Learn more here.