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Dreaming about the last few days in India

My favourite place to sit and blog is in my bay window looking out at the Charlottetown Harbour. I have room for a teapot by my side and tea tastes so good right now as I see sparkling blue water, not ice, and note that the 12 foot high snowbank that blocked much of my view is now gone! There have been many walkers going by. The one good thing about this past record breaking snowy winter is that it has given us all even more reason to love the spring and more appreciation for crocuses!

I am trying to imaging myself heading off to Margherita Tea Estate near the town of Margherita, named after a former Italian queen.

[caption id="attachment_2177" align="aligncenter" width="519"]Manager's bungalow Manager's bungalow[/caption]

Margherita is in the upper end of the Assam Valley near the bustling city of Tinsukia. The tea tastings will be incredible. Tea grown on this estate is known to have an aroma of spice when infused. Rich and dark and spicy - sounds pretty good to me! A full day will be spent here hosted by McLeod Russel, the company that owns and operates this estate and many others. Their fine teas will always have this trademark on them.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="198"] Elephants are common visitors in the tea estates. I do hope they like strangers![/caption]

Amgoorie Tea Estate will host us and even keep us overnight the next day! Once land lush with mango trees, it now is the largest producing tea estate of CTC manufacturing. In 1931 machinery was developed to crush, tear and curl the picked tea leaf for processing. These teas are primarily produced for tea bags. Compared to the traditional orthodox tea, the machine process denigrates the inherent quality of the leaf and makes a stronger tasting and higher caffeine tea than the more delicate whole-leaf teas that I prefer. This method which started in Amgoorie revolutionized the tea industry!

I'm sure I'll be weary, but I am looking forward to checking out the Toklai Tea Research Institute and staying in their guest house the next night. Research on all aspects of tea cultivation takes place here.

On the same day, June 6th that we fly out of Kolkata for home, we will make a morning stop at Hunwal Estate, our last touch with reali-tea (pun intended) in Assam.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="548"] picking tea in the rain at Hunwal[/caption]

Assam's Hunwal Tea Estate (also owned by McLeod Russel) is located in the Jorhat area of Assam. Hunwal rises into the hills with tea being grown up to an altitude of 1000m above sea level. The resulting lower temperatures give the slower growing plants a unique strength and help produce outstanding tea.

This is my last blog post before leaving for India this weekend! I will be taking lots of photos and journaling about my experiences on the trip so that I have lots of stories to share with you here once I get back to Canada. In the meantime, happy tea trails to you, friends, and thank you for reading!
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