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The community of tea makers in Nepal is very small. Everyone knows everyone on a first name basis and one of the most known names must be Sonam Lama.
Sonam Lama was born and raised in Darjeeling. In Darjeeling, Lama studied tea rigorously as a researcher. But to find the very spirit of tea and tea making, Lama came to Nepal. Almost exactly two decades ago, he settled in the small town of Fikkal, Ilam.
The town was small but he had big dreams. With similar climate and culture as Darjeeling, Ilam's way of tea was and still is uniquely delicate. He found a sense of freedom and love in Ilam that fit his spiritual search perfectly. Starting a fresh chapter as a tea maker, Sonam lets nature decide how the tea is prepared. His hands are there only for gentle guidance.
For the last twenty years or so, Lama has been slowly but steadily building a community of tea makers and tea lovers while creating top-notch Nepali tea in Ilam. But labeling what Sonam does within the confines of the words “creating tea” would be an understatement. It isn't enough to be amongst the abundance of tea, if one doesn't know how to appreciate the tea. Lama has been corroborating the future of Nepali teas all in all.
With hundreds of students from around the world visiting Sonam to learn the ways of tea, the spiritual tea maker allows each to build a special bond with their brew. Most of his classes are out in the garden where students are one with nature. He asks the students to observe what’s already there to see. As a teacher, the core of Lama’s class is acknowledging that each student comes from a unique background, so Sonam lets the spirit flow and each one of them finds their own unique love of tea.
No wonder, Lama has helped jumpstart the brilliant careers of all of Nepal Tea Collective’s tea makers - Sharad Subba, Sujan Ghaley and Nikesh Gurung