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Nepal -- the latest specialty coffee grower

Himalayan climate is ideal for coffee growing but farmers face numerous hurdles

Nima Tenjing Sherpa smells a cup of coffee during a cupping in Kathmandu in July. (Courtesy of Green Land Organic Farm)

KATHMANDU -- As the aroma of freshly brewed coffee fills the air, Nima Tenjing Sherpa bends and perches his nose above a cup at a table inside a tiny roaster in a posh Kathmandu neighborhood. He inhales the fragrance, an act reminiscent of wine-tasting, then sips at the coffee. "It's sweet with traces of fruit," he says.

Sherpa, a 36-year-old director and co-founder of Lekali Coffee Estate, is still basking in the glory of his coffee's global recognition. Early this year, his beans, grown in Nuwakot, a district northwest of Kathmandu, scored 90 points on a scale of 50 to 100 in Coffee Review, a California-based trade magazine. In its first-ever blind assessment of a Nepali coffee, the magazine described Lekali as "savory sweet in structure with gentle acidity; crisp, satiny mouthfeel."

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