Origin

Mothers Day 2024

Mother’s Day Teas that Empower Women

The tea industry relies on women whose strong yet nimble fingers pluck the delicate buds from the trees and sort the imperfect from the perfect leaves. Yet women are far more likely to live in extreme poverty and have less access to education. This Mother’s Day Tea Journey celebrates the companies and individuals change that narrative by educating, empowering, and enabling women in tea. Join us in supporting those who a difference for mothers and female tea workers worldwide. 

Vietnamese tea ceremony

Hien Minh and the Evolution of Vietnamese Tea

“There are nights when the full moon is clear, and the golden light radiates like a warm forest. The ancient tea trees lit up magically, their warm, sweet fragrance mixed with a little bit of night incense… We would love to capture that magical moment through the tea which holds in it a feeling of mystery, something shrouded in the darkness.” – Nguyen Viet Hung

Pouring Bengali chai

On a Chai Trail: The Bengali and their Cha

That the Bengali love tea is now legendary. And in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, tea is part of the social and cultural fabric. Our Chai Trail series takes readers up close and personal to the tea culture across India, and this story is a peek into the Bengali homes and the place that tea has in their lives.

Who’s Cooking Badaga Food? 

Badaga food from the tea-growing Nilgiri mountains is distinctive from all other Indian tea-inspired cuisines. Tourists drawn to South India are fascinated by the stories of this indigenous tribe that has lived in the Blue Mountains for centuries.

Beyond the Brew: Immersive Tea Tours

Immersive tours are a remarkable equalizer, bridging the gap between seasoned tea connoisseurs and novices. Through shared experiences of plucking tea leaves alongside local farmers, crafting their blends, and witnessing the alchemy of leaf to cup, they forge bonds that go beyond language and cultural barriers. 

The Mayfair Manor, Jungpana

Cocooned in Darjeeling: The Mayfair Manor, Jungpana

Stay in a restored bungalow originally built in 1910 and once the residence of the Nepali royal family. It offers 12 exquisitely decorated and spacious suites, each named for an historical figure attached to the estate.

Artisanal Tea Maker Utilizes Rare Roseate Cultivar

Rose reserve tea is not just a mark of the enchanting flavors fostered by Nepal’s unique high-altitude micro-climates and terroir but also an embodiment of the keen talent of a new generation of tea-makers. 

Mai Tea Estate Breathes Life Into Nepal Community

Mai Tea Estate Breathes Life Into Nepal Community | Ritu Rajbanshi | The Mai Tea factory, located in Mai Pokhari wetlands near Ilam, Nepal, has been a boon to the 180 local farmers who earn a stable income from producing high-quality teas. Tea maker Thribikram Subba honed his tea-making skills for nearly two decades, slowly gaining opportunities to work with experts from India who came to the factory as consultants. Over the last two years, he has started making his own tea without supervision. “I feel like I have finally mastered the language of tea,” he says.

Wild Forest Grown Ceylon Tea

Community Driven Tea Nestled in the Adam’s Peak mountain range of Sabaragamuwa Province, in the tiny village of Erathna, Kuruwita, […]

China’s Gou Gu Nao “Dog’s Head” Mountain Tea

Mountainous Suichuan county in Jiangxi Province offers an incomparable microclimate for local cultivars, producing an exceptionally tender leaf. Gou Gu Nao Green Tea is highly prized. The processing method is quite complicated. It is refined through eight processes. The shape of Gou Gu Nao Tea is tight and rolled to a slight curl. The color is bright green, the aroma is fresh and elegant, and the taste is fresh and thick with a sweet and long aftertaste. 

Azerbaijan Growers are Restoring its Tea Legacy

Depending on the variety and quality, the price of local tea in the domestic market ranges from $4.70 to $29 (8-50 manats) per kilogram. Recently, farmers say, the demand for higher quality has increased markedly. People have discovered that local products are of better quality, and therefore they are willing to buy Azerbaijan tea, despite the apparent high cost.

Tea Pluckers plucking Cusco Tea

Tea in Peru

Peru’s tea industry is gradually expanding after decades of decline. Tea drinking has grown in popularity, but due to social and political problems and the economic crisis, commercial production in the late 1990s began a seemingly endless decline, compounded by bad administrative management and the arrival of less expensive Argentine tea. In the ten years since 2011, Peru’s tea market has increased 61% by value.

Nepal’s Specialty Tea Evolution

The Barbote tea farm is nestled in the steep hills of Ilam, Nepal, planted by his grandfather and tended by his father but grower Narendra Kumar Gurung spent most of his working years with the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Like most of Nepal’s new-generation farmers, specialty tea is a new endeavor built on a century-old foundation of commodity production.

La Ruta del Te

La Ruta del Té

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.

A Local Tea Movement Brewing in Assam

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.

Cultivating Tea in Colombia

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.

Simpson Garden

Fine Tea from the Island of Jersey

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.

Greeting pines

Tea from the Clouded Mist of Huangshan

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.

PiPa Cha Tea Garden Portugal

Cultivating Tea in Coastal Portugal

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.

James and Stephen Ajoo

A Remarkable Quest Reveals Untold Chapter in Tea History

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.” 

Tea Garden in Bolivia

Tea from the Heights of Bolivia

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.

Tea Planter Michel Thévot

Kérouzéré Mill’s Botanical Garden

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?

Music Video: Railgadi Jhumur

“The indentured migrant laborer community of the tea plantations in Assam and North Bengal in India, has always intrigued,” writes […]

An Organic Tea Grower from the Land of Tie Guan Yin Oolong

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.

Fu'an China

A Heritage Tea for Modern Times

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.”

Alfred Mwase

Alfred Mwase: Crafting Orthodox Teas Amid a Sea of CTC

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.”

Remote farming

Remote Farming During a Pandemic

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.”

La Teteria Tea Estate

Harvest Review: Tea in the Cordillera

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.

Japan’s Cultural Tea Bridge to Europe

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?

Pluckers on way to Amba Tea Garden

Sri Lanka’s Artisan Tea Collective

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.

Destination Songyang China

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.

Harvest Review Argentina

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.

Garden of the Fairies

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.

Roy Fong: A Chinese-American Journey

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.

Three Mindful Tea Drinking Experiences in Japan

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.

Harnessing the Inherent Charm and Potential of Farm and Forest Tea

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. 

The Importance of Water

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.

Koliapani Tea Estate

Advocating Artisan Tea for Smallholders in Assam

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.

Temi Tea Pluckers

Sikkim’s Temi Tea

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.

Forest Pick Tea

Forest Pick Wild Tea from Manipur

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

The Art of Earth and Fire

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.

Mr. Kiya In His Field

Amazing Lessons on Japanese Tea at Cafe Seisui-an

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.

Destinations: Hoshino Village’s Tea Culture Museum

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.

The Gentleman Planter of Craigmore

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.

The Studio: Muskan Khanna

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.

Origins: Black Sea Georgian Tea

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.

Destination: China’s National Tea Museum

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

Kakuzo Okakura and the Cup of Humanity

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.

Round the Bend

The Nine Bend River (Jiuqu Xi) is a masterpiece one hundred million years in the making, cutting through China’s oolong tea capital.