Kalapani Tea Garden Girl – Apsara Neupane Story

For two years already, we have been offering teas from the Nepalese garden Kalapani, located in eastern Nepal in the famous Ilam growing region. The teas from the until recently unknown garden have literally cast a spell on us and with each batch of samples that come from here, we are becoming more and more fans. It made us all the more curious to find out who was behind the production of such great teas.

Tea Maker

We are always thrilled to learn that a woman is behind the tea production. Even more so when it’s in places where women have it much harder in society than we do. Yes, in Kalapani, a young lady named Apsara Neupane runs the tea production. Apsara was born and raised in a farming family that has been growing and processing tea, among other crops, for over twenty-five years. By establishing tea nurseries, they have gradually expanded their small tea field.

Withering leaves

Apsara literally grew up with tea. From a very young age, she helped her parents and gradually learned everything about growing and propagating tea bushes and processing tea leaves. Even at a young age she was making her own hand-rolled tea. Tea became a passion for Apsara and she always aspired to become a true tea master. After she finished school, she decided to pursue tea production professionally. She subsequently got her apprenticeship at the nearby Pathivara garden. For the last two years, she has been back home in Kalapani, where she works as the head tea maker.

Kalapani is a small factory with modern facilities spread over 9 acres of leased land. Some of the fresh leaves are sourced from local farmers. The factory employs 7 permanent workers, while others are added during the season. The tea bushes are on average 20 years old and clonal bushes predominate. A smaller proportion are shrubs grown from seed.

The Kalapani tea garden is situated on the slopes of the picturesque landscape of Panchtar district at an altitude of 1800-2100 metres above sea level and its name is derived from the words ‘kala’, which translates as black, and ‘pani’, meaning water. This name is inspired by a small lake near the factory.

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