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India Tea Adventures, Part 1

When I look out the window today at yet another 30cm of snow falling on Prince Edward Island, it is hard to believe that I will soon be looking out at the lofty mountains of India's great Kanchanjunga Peaks. No, I am not wishfully thinking of travel to exotic places. A few weeks ago I made the decision to seize the chance to fulfill my life-long dream of visiting the tea-producing regions of India, and booked my flight, along with a number of other tea enthusiasts from the Tea Association of Canada, to Kolkata (Calcutta) India. I have always wanted to visit the regions of the world where tea is grown: to see it growing, to smell it; to see it plucked, wilted and processed. I leave May 25, and I have to keep reminding myself that this IS happening! Darjeeling, Assam, here I come!

Our tea-traveling group will begin our adventure by spending a day in Kolkata with the Tea Board of India, where we will visit a tea auction and the leading tea broking firm. After this initial immersion into local tea history and culture, we will embark on a 3-hour drive uphill from Bagdogra to the Darjeeling district in the northeast.

Many of the world's most famous teas which include Darjeelings, come from bushes cultivated above 4,000 feet. Our first stop en route to Darjeeling will be Castleton Estate which was first planted in 1885 by a British gent, Charles Graham. I'll have a lot more to say after being there, but if all the articles I have read are true, I will catch a glimpse of tea production at its finest!

The climate at the end of May and early June will be warm, but after our current winter here on Prince Edward Island, I am looking forward to some warmth for a change! The average temperature for the end of May is 20C, and we will be leaving the region before it gets soaked by the annual monsoon rains.

[caption id="attachment_2101" align="aligncenter" width="626"]Darjeeling, the city of Tea. Photo by Adam Linthwaite. Darjeeling, the city of Tea. Photo by Adam Linthwaite.[/caption]

As I begin preparing for my trip I wanted to share the things I am learning about the regions I will be visiting while in India, and some of the details of what I anticipate to be my tea trip of a lifetime! If you have any questions or comments about my upcoming India tea adventures, leave them in the comments section below this post! Stay tuned for part 2!

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