One of the oldest tea gardens in Darjeeling, Happy Valley Tea Estate was established in 1854. Some of its tea bushes are well over 100 years old. Several years ago the garden began the transition from conventional to organic growing, and now it has both organic and biodynamic certifications. Continue reading “Happy Valley Tea Estate”
Darjeeling tea is plucked in four “flushes” throughout the season: first flush, second flush, monsoon flush, and autumn flush. Tea from each flush has its own distinct qualities and flavor profile. Notably, second flush teas (late spring/early summer) are known for their often prominent, smokey “muscatel” flavor, highly favored by connoisseurs. Continue reading “Tea Tasting in Darjeeling”
Prior to coming to Darjeeling I had arranged to teach English at Hannah Memorial Academy (HMA), an elementary school on the Dooteriah Tea Estate. Jason, the founder of the school, set up accommodations for me in the guest bungalow on his family’s land on the estate. His family has been living at Dooteriah since the time when Jason’s grandfather was the doctor for the tea estate. Continue reading “Dooteriah Tea Estate”
I first visited Darjeeling in the fall of 2011. I trekked the Singalila Ridge along the border of Nepal, where I had amazing views of Mount Kanchenjanga, the third highest peak in the world. I also tried Darjeeling tea for the first time. Continue reading “Darjeeling”
For me, one of the benefits of being a tea tourist is that tea is grown in places I enjoy visiting. Happily, some of the best tea is grown in mountainous highlands. The village of Bir, in the Kangra region of Himachal Pradesh, is at an altitude of 1500 meters and is surrounded by tea gardens. It is also the home of a major Tibetan settlement, and nearby Billing is a world-famous takeoff point for paragliding. Continue reading “Bir and Tea”
I’ve been drinking tea in earnest since 2011, when I discovered whole leaf tea during a trip to Darjeeling. A few years prior to that I had begun a regular meditation practice. Interestingly, I’ve found that both tea and meditation give me a similar feeling that I might describe as “awakened relaxation.” Continue reading “The Zen of Tea”
You’ve heard of “green tea,” so called because the leaves are not oxidized and still look quite green after processing. But how “green” is tea in terms of its environmental impact?
Continue reading “How Green Is Our Tea?”