Breaking the back of the tea industry in Darjeeling

Breaking the back of the tea industry in Darjeeling

Storms are brewing in the eastern state of West Bengal, as India’s most famous tea-growing region is under conflict.

Darjeeling with its beautiful sprawling estates and unique micro-climate, by many considered to be the Mecca of tea, produces some of the world’s most expensive black premium teas, including the highly coveted First Flush teas. Prized for their distinctive flavor and aroma, Darjeeling teas, also known as the ‘Champagnes of Teas’, are largely exported to European markets.

Due to the current conflict, Darjeeling tea estates have lost an entire harvest leading to an estimated loss of $22.5 million.

The 34-day strike by West Bengal Gurkha, who are seeking statehood, announced the agitation will “turn terrible” if their demands are not met.  The strike halted the second flush tea harvest (when the leaves are at their finest), closed factories, and has idled several hundred thousand tea workers across the northern reaches of the state. Prolonged unrest may prevent the third and final harvest of autumnal tea.

Food is in short supply, traffic is unable to move unhindered, and the ban on internet services has been extend.  Except for pharmacies and hospitals, all other shops, restaurants, and hotels remain closed. Banks and ATMs are closed.  Bars and pubs are closed and outdoor sporting events canceled.  Schools and colleges have extended their summer break until the unrest ends.

The ongoing unrest in the hill has added to the strain on the tea gardens that are already reeling under the impact of climate change, a drop in global prices and high production costs.

Support Darjeeling

To show our support for the Darjeeling region, we are offering a 30% discount on our Darjeeling First Flush till the end of August.

Our Darjeeling First Flush is light and aromatic with a delicate hint of nutmeg, slight astringency and sweet undertones.

 

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