Jorhat, Assam The vast Brahmaputra Valley holds the world’s greatest concentration of tea. Commercial production began 180 years ago in a region that has 800 of the largest plantations in the world; employs 686,000 tea workers daily and is vast enough to harbor ancient tea forests that have flourished for millennia. Assam is the most […]
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, Rajah Banerjee, 70, instituted innovations that continue to reverberate globally. The 1,100-hectare estate was both laboratory and classroom. “I was never an owner, just a steward in passing,” he says. Makaibari built the world’s first […]
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 Western Ghats, South India Backbone of South India The six-hour drive south from Balanoor Tea Estate in Karnataka to the storied Nilgiri District of Tamil Nadu skirts Mysore city, engages with endless hills of shade-grown tea and coffee, then climbs to a plateau studded with charming agricultural villages producing corn, cucumbers, mangos, palm oil […]
Balanoor Tea Estate, Karnataka Piece of Cake His birthday was celebrated in a leafy residential section of Bangalore, one of India’s more modern, connected cities. Thirty members of the prosperous Kuriyan clan milled about the cavernous apartment in the condominium complex they erected 15 years ago. Venerable tea and coffee planter, Ashok Kuriyan, the […]
There is a revolution going on in South India, right under our noses. Up until the late 1980s perhaps, South Indian tea – from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala – was predominantly comprised of mid-grade CTC (cut, tear, curl) produced for the local market. In addition, there was a range of orthodox black teas, leaf […]
Where does tea flavor come from? The word “terroir” translates from the French to “of the earth.” It has become a fuzzy colloquial expression served up as a catchword that tries to resolve a mystery simply by naming it. The concept has been long in the making, dating to the very earliest Latin writings on wines. It’s a […]
Tea comes (back) to Brazil Just as tea is emblematic of England and core to its history, coffee and Brazil go together as almost one word. And just as Britain is becoming a dynamic and vibrant coffee market, demand for tea is expanding in this nation of 200 million, whose borders touch every South American […]
It’s no news that climate change is a growing, severe and global problem. Alas, it’s also not news that this is getting worse. For the tea industry, the impacts are becoming more and more apparent. The consensual figure is that 20-50% of the positives of tea will be lost within the next two to three […]