India is seeing the interest in tea tourism really growing and becoming an important source of revenue for some struggling tea gardens. The Darjeeling area is a big draw and sports many fine locations from which to choose. This little teapot encourages you humans to check them out. We offer some information on a few that we find especially inviting below. Continue reading Darjeeling Tea Tourism Is a Growing Trend
Of the 87 (or 88) tea gardens that bear the official designation of being Darjeeling gardens, a few seem to garner most of the attention while the rest barely get noticed, despite the quality of their teas. Marketing is a tough thing for them and usually not affordable. So sites like this one help spread the word. It benefits you, the tea lover, and people like us who spread the word about such teas. (In our case, the benefit is that these great teas continue to be available as the gardens continue producing thanks to folks buying them.) Continue reading Some Lesser Known Darjeeling Tea Gardens
Rain is essential to any crop, and tea is no exception. Too little and too much or at the wrong or right time all affect the taste and overall quality of the tea leaves. It’s all part of the whole terroir concept. Continue reading Rainfall and Tea
Farming is quite challenging and never has a certain outcome, being affected by a number of variables, and tea farming is no exception. Not enough rain at the right time. Too much rain at the wrong time. Too hot. Too cold. Weeds choking out the plants and robbing them of nutrients and water. Pests eating the leaves (unless it’s the leafhopper essential to producing Oriental Beauty oolong). Elephants trampling through the garden. And so on. The tea farmer can often find himself in a hurry to harvest, rushing to the flush, as it were.
Then, there’s the labor issue. Finding people who know how to pluck properly. Certain teas require a certain way of plucking the leaves off the bush. This photo below by Norman Shu, brother of Thomas Shu who processes great oolong teas from the nation of Taiwan, shows expert plucking of only the two-leaves-and-bud pairing they wanted for the special oolong being produced:
Tea farmers also need workers willing to be out in sun and heat, as well as steaminess. It’s often sauna conditions. This photo from Cre Ar Te Blends de Té shows one woman’s solution to dealing with such conditions:
Paying a wage to attract both skilled and sturdy workers can be a problem, since the price of the harvested leaves can be determined at auction and often not cover the expenses of that labor. Yes, rather challenging to be a tea farmer. And that is why I continue to write about, promote, and spread the word about tea……not that stuff in a bag, but the good stuff.
Check some out at your favorite tea vendor. Go exploring!
© 2015 A.C. Cargill photos and text
by Little Yellow Teapot (a tea steeping marvel and occasional contributing author)
Your buddy and ever faithful to true tea teapot here! TOOOOT! Time for the next chapter in the ongoing saga of Doke tea garden, having recently supervised the infusing of the two latest samples: First Flush 2015 and Second Flush 2015 of their black tea. Continue reading The Saga Continues with a Certain Black Tea
We often think (and bloggers like me write about) the challenges of steeping tea just right. But there are tough challenges behind the scenes, so to speak, and one of the most frightening is the tea garden fire. Continue reading Tough Challenges for Tea Growers and the Fire at Darjeeling Ambootia Tea Garden Factory