Tea of Life

Impressions of life in Darjeeling, India where there is always time for a good cup of tea.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Shortly after arriving to Darjeeling I befriended the man who would ultimately become my husband about 18 months later. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine marrying an Indian or living in India, but that’s exactly what happened. And marry we did – three times! The first was our legal wedding, followed by a Buddhist wedding and last but not least, was the Christian wedding. All cultures, religions and ethnic groups were satisfied with our cross-cultural union. It was agreed upon beforehand that we would live in Darjeeling.

Eventually we got around to the question of how we could link our worlds. My training and heart have always been in the field of social work. While my husband, Niraj Lama is a journalist. After way too much deliberation we picked the most obvious choice…sharing glorious Darjeeling tea with anybody that is interested. Hence, several months ago we began a company called Darjeeling Tea Exclusive to export 100% pure Darjeeling tea. Additionally, we hope to share the culture, history and health benefits associated with tea drinking.

Darjeelings are regarded as the “Champagne of Tea” and enthusiastically sought after by connoisseurs around the world. There is no other place on earth that can match the exceptional quality and flavor of Darjeeling tea. This magical elixir is in short supply because of the tough growing conditions up here in the Himalaya. Sadly due to the high demand for this premium tea, adulteration and misrepresentation are wide spread.

Annually some 10 million kilograms of Darjeeling tea are manufactured while 40 million kilograms are sold. Not good math for the consumer! Mainly low grade teas are blended with or not at all with Darjeeling teas and sold as 100% pure Darjeeling tea. This is one of the primary reasons we got into exporting tea direct from local gardens to the people who want to drink a very good cup of tea. We live here, have good relationships with the gardens and only purchase the very best teas. Our primary emphasis is placed on those gardens that are organic and fair trade certified.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

How Darjeeling came to me...

As they say in the east, Darjeeling was my destiny as I never could have imagined living in such a place. Although it was long ago written in the stars that this truth would eventually unfold. Now Darjeeling has become my home where the sounds and sights of the place are more natural than my original home.

About six years ago I had an epiphany of enormous proportions, a blinding flash of clarity which could not be ignored. It was absolutely essential that I leave everything behind and wander around the world by myself for one year. Well one year turned into two and then three, and I never did make it back home again.

While traveling around India I happened to meet a woman in Jaisalmer who was doing volunteer work in Darjeeling. She told me all about the place which greatly piqued my interest. Told her that I would drop in to visit if ever I got up that way. Several months later I did end up in Darjeeling and within just a couple of days realized that I should hang up my backpack and stay for a while as I was utterly enchanted by the people and this magical place. It’s been three years now and my enchantment remains, but on a much richer level.