When we say "farm-to-cup" that's exactly what we mean. We have built relationships with artisan farmers both directly and through small tea growers cooperatives in India and we would like to share a few unique stories of the artists who are at the heart of every cup of our handcrafted, single estate teas.
Mr. Buddhasingh’s farm is located in a tea village set on the Himalayan mountain slopes of Darjeeling, 5500 ft. above sea level. He's a farmer following traditional, organic methods for growing his tea, as well as for the vegetable crops he grows. Prior to our relationship, he sold his green leaves to the nearby tea factory, with no say on pricing – a sterile, transactional relationship, with no connect to his buyer, or to the end user. Things have changed now. Last year, with a lot of encouragement from us, he set up a traditional micro tea processing plant to produce speciality teas – producing some scintillating artisanal ones! His small team consists of himself, his wife, son, daughter and four permanent workers.
Mr. Rebo was a schoolteacher, who planted a few tea bushes on a small plot of land that he owned, in the 90s. The small scale plantation in Koliapani, though tiny in comparison to most tea farms, grew slowly and steadily. From the initial seeds gathered from an abandoned tea farm in neighbouring Nagaland, this family farm was expanded by his two sons – Rana and Sanku in later years. They remember the old days of carrying the leaves on their bicycles to the tea factory, being offered meagre prices - sometimes being turned down outright, and even abandoning the whole lot on the streets in despair, when the factory would refuse to take small consignments from small farmers. In May 2016, the brothers began a micro organic tea factory, which follows a typical process of double hand-rolling the teas before drying – which gives a fine finish to the leaves. Thanks to their love of experimentation and passion for creating artisanal tea, this location is one of the centres that we use as an experimentation centre – a hub that has yielded to us some of the finest artisanal Oolong, White, Green and Black teas from the Assamica varietals.
Joydev Brahma & Joydev Brahma Jr. are a father-son duo who own 2 plantations - a 17-year-old farm in Udaliguri, Assam; and another, 9 years old, on the Bhutan-India border. Their commitment to being all natural extends to not even using vermicompost, natural fertilizers or any other stimulants to increase production. They have instead devised an innovative method of pest control – creating a buffer zone around the plantation, so that the entire ecosystem is undisturbed, and the indigenous trees, shrubs and birds help in keeping the zone naturally pest-free! Joydev Brahma Jr. Is fully engaged in the family business, having left his mainstream career to continue the family legacy, while feeding his passion for the art of handcrafted teas. His focus is on creating fully organic/chemical-free, quality handcrafted teas that possess a purity and quality that is recognized globally.