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From Research to Realsearch

If INDIA were an acronym, in my dictionary it may look like this:

  • I is for imponderable, impassioned, inspired

  • N is for nonstop

  • D is for diverse, dreamlike

  • I is for inconceivable, illusive, incredible

  • A is for ardent, amazing, awesome

I am back from my tea tour in Darjeeling and Assam and all the research in the world could not compare to actually being there. I was prepared. I knew I would be in for a culture shock. I knew it would be hot. I knew I would be eating spicy foods. I knew I might not sleep very well. What I did not know was just how completely I would love every minute!

Our first day in Kolkata was an introduction to the driving skills of our driver. Holding my breath or gasping did no good so I just did my best to 'be in the moment' and accept the ways of another culture! Not to offend our dear Indian friends, but there seemed to be no rules whatsoever for the traffic!

We had a lesson in bidding on teas at the auction house of the J Thomas & Co. and a warm welcome from the Tea Board of India whose members were hungry to learn how Canada and India could work together in promoting the tea industry. With each stop, we were welcomed with a cup of tea and a cookie!

A Kolkata traditionHere we cupped our first set of teas where for over a hundred years, tasters slurped and spit (into spittoons) the many teas coming through their doors. The teas would be priced according to their taste and other qualities and put on the market. For cupping, 2.5 g of tea is weighed and put into each cup, boiling water added, timed for 5 minutes and then poured into the bowls for the tasters' palates.

[caption id="attachment_2240" align="aligncenter" width="600"]The old-fashioned weigh scales The old-fashioned weigh scales are the best![/caption]

beautiful tea to cupThis was the first of many cuppings, for the next day, we left hot, humid Kolkata and embarked on the tea journey through the mountains of the Darjeeling district. I am delighted to have the opportunity to share over the next few weeks the incredible and passionate culture of the camellia sinensis plant of India!

At the Charlottetown Farmers Market, I will be sharing samples of the many teas that were given to us. If you can, drop by on Saturday and Wednesday!

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