Teagirl has been MIA for the past few days. Not because I didn’t want to share with you or had nothing to share with you, but rather because I was cut off from wifi – perhaps not a bad thing for a few days.
I entered Assam yesterday and as I told you in my last post – it is miles of the all around. Assam is the largest tea producing region in the world. The flavours of the teas are very different than this if Darjeeling. First, they are all the Assamica tea plants rather than the Chinese one. Second, they are grown at low altitudes. The resut is a robust and full bodied tea that is quite often in your breakfast blends.
I will admit that I was not expecting the same stories and passions in the gardens of Assam, which is why the first stop was truly inspirational. Heritage Tea Assam. The Managung Director, Mr. Rajen Baruah, has been a professional tea planter for 30 years. He “believes the world is full of dreamers, hence, one should move ahead and take concrete steps to actualize ones vision”.
Mr Baruah runs this small piece if idealism with his wife June and two sons Ronnie and Ishan. The years of working for major corporations is what made Mr Baruah want to provide a place for small farmers to sell their tea at better prices. His belief and passion in the quality of the leaf that can be produced when people are not driven by purely quantity is the core of this beautiful business.
Providing a place for small farmers however isn’t all this family does. They are central to the nurturing of the virgin lands found north of Assam in the hills of Arunchul Pradish. He has created his own machinery – small enough to be put in the homes of the locals allowing the women to perform the production while the men do the plucking and tending to the land. Quite a different dynamic than anywhere else in this industry.
And yes – the proof is in the liquor – the liquor of the tea that is. How could I possibly taste these teas and not drink in the commitment and integrity behind it. How could I just cup this tea looking purely for laboratory analysis. It would be an insult to what is happening here.
This family has committed their business to empowering others. And that is a gift that is truly priceless.