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Nepal spoils Darjeeling's tea party

Nepalese workers pick tea leaves at the Jun Chiyabari estate in Dhankuta, Eastern Nepal. (Photo courtesy of Niraj Lama)

SILIGURI, Darjeeling, India -- Two years ago, when Niraj Lama began stocking an unknown tea from Nepal at Happy Earth Tea, his family's tea importing company in New York, it was with some trepidation.

Jun Chiyabari Himalayan Autumn Bouquet, a light tea with notes of hay, honey and apples, came from a tiny Nepalese tea-growing garden with a history dating to only 2001. But at $10 an ounce (a little over 28 grams) it had a price tag "matching the premium Taiwan oolongs and only a few [of the] best Darjeelings."

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