Knowledge of how tea is grown and processed came naturally to fourth-generation Argentine grower Carolina Okulovich but she observed that was not so for the tourists and visitors to the farm who found tea cultivation and processing fascinating. That was how the idea arose to create a learning experience for visitors touring the 15 hectares known as La Ruta del Té.
What started as a conversation about the qualities that make the teas of Assam so appealing has since developed into a collaboration with marginalized, small-size tea growers to provide natural loose-leaf “home grown” tea.
Tea in Colombia was first planted 75 years ago. Joaquín Llano González and his son, Alberto Llano Buenaventura, became the first commercial tea growers and their farms La Sofía and Hacienda Himalaya, located in the mountains of the western Andes above the Pacific Coast, continue producing Colombia’s sole domestically grown brands.
With its 1,800 hectares of soil, the Jersey Royal is spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding where to plant tea. The islands’ acid soil is perfect for the tea plant to grow. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, Jersey winters are mild, without any risk of frost, while summers are moderately warm and sunny. The island’s high humidity also provides ideal conditions for the tea plants to thrive.
For centuries, in southwest Anhui, Huangshan Mountain has endeared itself to scenic seekers, poets, and tea lovers. During the Five Dynasties, Shezhou Dafang tea was a tribute tea favored by the imperial family. In the Song Dynasty, at the onset of commercial trade, the acreage under tea expanded continuously and a variety of famous teas emerged.
In 2011 Portuguese wine maker Dirk Niepoort and his wife Nina Grutkowski planted two hundred seedlings in their garden adding a little at a time until, in 2018, there were 12,000 seedlings. Last spring Camélia Tea processed its first commercial crop, with a distinctive flavor that is the result of a terroir of its own.
From Hwuy-Chow Foo, a tea-growing district in Anhui, China to Pauri, India, the Nilgiris, Munnar, and Chennai … the Ajoo family story traverses an untold chapter in the history of Indian tea, a road James Ajoo is trying to retrace, “to say I landed my feet where my ancestor had walked.”
The Bolivian government has invested in tea production as part of its Poverty Alleviation Program leading to the creation of ecological brands pioneered by ChaiMaté Tea, an IMO certified supplier producing teas competitive for export.
The Léonard region of Brittany in Northern France has been considered a land of plenty for centuries; but who would have thought that a tea perfectly expressing the alliance between land and sea would grow from its soil?
Tie Guan Yin oolong, the quintessential “slow tea of China,” is time-consuming to produce and meant to be savored slowly. In Anxi, Fujian, the birthplace of Tie Guan Yi, the locals, like organic tea grower Rong Feng Wang, are fiercely proud of their oolongs. Here’s Wang’s tea journey.
Tanyang Gongfu tea is experiencing notoriety as well as increased demand that dates to the 1980s when local growers collectively raised their production standard, earning a reputation for quality hongcha (red tea). The tea is grown in Fu’an which takes its name from a poem in which a Song dynasty emperor bestowed five blessings: “Lucky Heaven, Lucky Earth, Lucky Mountain, Lucky Water, and Lucky Tea.”
The Satemwa Tea Estate, founded in 1923, began to revive the production of orthodox teas about 15 years ago. It is the only estate in Malawi crafting orthodox teas. Taster Alfred Mwase says, “my only experience prior to 2010 was CTC. My first tasting of specialty stimulated interest in these unique teas. Satemwa is a pioneering estate that is open to experiments with new tea cultivars, withering times, rolling techniques, oxidation times, and drying cycles.”
The pandemic was the worst thing to happen to Nepal’s Kanchanjangha Tea Estate, but there is a silver lining. “It radically changed how we work,” says Nishchal Banskota, who manages operations via Zoom calls between Long Island, New York, and his family’s tea estate. It’s early morning for me and the end of the day for my father, but after nine months, he says, “I have more confidence that I can manage a farm remotely.”
Chileans drink an average of 427 cups of tea a year, more than any South American country and almost as much per capita as the Chinese, placing them among the top 20 tea consuming countries.
The currents of Japanese tea culture are flowing outward to Europe. In the past 50 years, Europeans have been diving and delving into the green waters. What is it about Japanese tea that attracts Europeans, and how is it pouring into European culture?
Sri Lanka celebrates diversity in tea. A new generation of Ceylon tea growers recently established an artisan tea collective to showcase exceptional teas produced to interest a niche domestic market and equally, the international market.
Modern Songyang integrates the essence of mountain and river, the taste of the countryside, and the beauty of folk art and local customs. The terraced hillsides are typical of traditional tea-producing regions, but Songyang is also a model county for national tea industry development. Plantations cover 20,403 acres of plants used in making 76,000 metric tons of Yinhou and Xiang green tea.
Uniquely positioned in the southern hemisphere where the harvest will soon be underway, Argentina is one of the world’s great tea producing nations. The first few months of the November 2019 harvest were very rainy. Growers report achieving normal volumes of good quality black tea for export.
In 2014 in Brittany, France, Denis and Weizi Mazerolle processed 50 grams of their very first green tea using traditional Chinese methods. The tea had its own typicity, expressing aquatic, greeny, and seaweedy notes, it was a pure evocation of its terroir. Two thousand trees now make their garden, Filleule des fées, one of the largest in Europe.
At age 6, on his way to school, Roy Fong would linger at a Hong Kong food stand where day laborers were making gongfu cha. Sometimes someone would offer him a cup, and he never forgot the wonderful aroma and taste.
The originators of the Japanese tea ceremony believed that the simple activity of sharing tea with a friend was like the path of a falling cherry blossom. It is a fleeting encounter on a path that can never be exactly repeated.
There is no doubt that in this golden age of tea quality frontier teas are precious opportunities to increase the spectrum of possibility. With the right care, everybody could win as producers gain a new source of income and the flowering of that beautiful craft-pride from focused artisanal activity. We should never forget, when tasting new tea, to exercise reverence for the passion and determination it takes to harvest and convert any form of the leaf into a finished tea.
Shun the expensive spring water If you want a better-tasting cup of green tea ― your water of choice should be from the tap. If it is health benefits you seek, choose bottled or deionized water for superior extraction of catechins, nearly double that of tap water.
The Tea Leaf Theory team is very lean, choosing to remain independent, bootstrapped, refusing certifications, they represent a new kind of startup, modern yet rooted in something traditional, ancient even. There’s the social impact but Tea Leaf Theory is not an NGO working for small farmers. “We want to make them entrepreneurs, not beneficiaries,” say co-founders Upamanyu Borkakoty and Anshuman Bharali.
Sikkim’s Temi Tea has protected and sustained its legacy. But it also made this legacy a part of its brand story, one that complements its topnotch tea.
Three sisters from Manipur, India, and their brother launched Forest Pick Wild Tea about two years ago. Together they organized villagers to harvest tall-grown tea trees on a schedule, arriving with portable processing equipment to make artisan oolong, black, green and white teas. “Irrespective of the market size or market opportunity, Forest Pick Wild Tea is not another start-up, but an eco-system we are creating in which all the villagers participating will benefit.” — Julie Gangte
Nestled in the Adam’s Peak mountain range of Sabaragamuwa Province, in the tiny village of Erathna, Kuruwita, tea producer Buddika […]
Jian Zhan teaware inspires poetic praise among its ardent lovers and devotees. Those who gain a genuine appreciation of Jian Zhan teaware find it impossible to shed their fascination with the history, science, art, and economics of these enchanting cups.
Fertigation is the distribution of water-soluble fertilizers through drip irrigation. Think of it as precision nutrition. The nutrients are diluted […]
Tea farmer, seller, event coordinator, gourmet, and nationally certified tea appraiser, Yasuhiko Kiya radiates love for his tea-growing neighborhood, Japanese tea, and his son, who will become the fourth generation to run the family business.
Hoshino villagers have experimented with growing, processing, and savoring tea for more than 600 years. The village’s Tea Culture Museum offers visitors a first-hand experience preparing artisan tea amid displays of ancient crafts.
Given that the Indian tea industry is struggling, Craigmore Tea Estate’s profitability offers important insights. The estate produces orthodox green and black tea, with the former exported and the latter sent to the auctions. Over the years, the balance has tilted to favor more green tea production to meet the demand.
Tea Studio celebrated its second birthday in August 2019. What it offers is a new model for processing tea in India. Small has not meant few teas. Nearly 90% of Tea Studio’s teas are exported to Canada, United States, Japan, and Australia. Teas are made to order, production is a modest 20 kilos a day.
Many sought to establish a tea dynasty in Georgia, and failed until a tea merchant named Popov invited the Cantonese (Guangdong) tea expert, Liu Junzhou (刘峻周) and ten of his countrymen, to Chakva, just north of Batumi, in 1893. Liu brought 1,000 kg of tea seeds and 150,000 saplings from China. By 1950 under Soviet control Georgia tea supplied half the world. Read what happened next.
China’s National Tea Museum, established in Hangzhou in 1991, is considered the epicenter of knowledge and appreciation of China’s most treasured beverage. Whilst there are small tea museums sprinkled across China
Consider owning a 470 million-year-old work of Mother Nature’s art, appropriately priced well over $500.
Kakuzo Okakura first described Japanese tea culture to a readership in the U.S. in The Book of Tea in 1906. Since then, his book, his ideas, and Japanese tea culture have traveled across the world.
The Nine Bend River (Jiuqu Xi) is a masterpiece one hundred million years in the making, cutting through China’s oolong tea capital.
KOOMTAI, Assam – Forty years ago executives of Goodricke Group, which had just split from Duncan Brothers & Company Ltd., […]
Straight out of university with a masters in English, I found myself at age 22 up in the High Ranges […]
Long before cut, tear and curl (CTC) dominated tea processing in the West, India exported sizeable quantities of handmade orthodox tea to an appreciative world market. Small factories at small gardens cultivated the art of rolling
Daniel Hong’s whimsical online profile picture has him adorning a Charlie Chaplin hat with an oversized black cardboard moustache.Chinese millennials don’t usually do whimsical, so I thought I might soon be meeting an over-the-top eccentric…
Red teas in China are experiencing a Renaissance. One of the most sought after of the high-end red teas is Jin Jun Mei – a fully oxidized tea created in 2006. It is made wholly of tea buds picked in early spring…
Jorhat, Assam The vast Brahmaputra Valley holds the world’s greatest concentration of tea. Commercial production began 180 years ago in […]
Eons of evolution in the ancient tea forests of China has established a complex and delicate biomass. The gnarled, pale-grey and green trunks of the oldest trees are home to myriad adaptations of spiders, lichen, and the tree parasite known to locals as crab pincer, a tea mistletoe.
Siliguri, West Bengal During his 47-year stewardship of Makaibari Tea Estate, one of India’s oldest and most celebrated tea habitats, […]
Pradip Baruah was born curious. He spends much of his time in the office and lab as chief advisory […]
A scant 2,000 kilometers west of Darjeeling, on the opposite side of the Indian subcontinent, lays a scenic valley of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, a place steeped in Hindu mythology.
The concept of terroir is still in flux, though trending toward a more widely accepted framework for an all-encompassing set of synergistic influences.
The Western Ghats, South India Backbone of South India The six-hour drive south from Balanoor Tea Estate in Karnataka to […]