Darjeeling – end of an era…..UPDATE

We hear some of the Darjeeling gardens have workers returning as negotiations continue. Elyse/Tealet will be traveling to Nepal in November and we will get the Real story from her.  There was no 2nd Flush, and there will be no Autumn Flush harvests for this year.  So, stocks will be lean for the next year.  We still have some Makaibari teas, and we purchased several pounds of the Yanki 2nd Flush, that was popular during our Darjeeling sampling a few months ago.  We also just got in some of the 1st Flush from Singbulli Estate (favored among the 5 or 6 we sampled)

 July 20, 2017 – from Tealet

Over 110 Years – The People Behind Darjeeling Tea Take Their Identity Back with Demand for Gorkhaland

When we started to do work in Darjeeling we had no idea the deep level of politics and corrupt business that was involved in the highly regarded tea. After first learning that we could not find transparency at the estates we became inactive in the region until we connected with a small tea grower cooperative that showed us they could make beautiful tea. This coop is now the future of Darjeeling Tea from Gorkhaland, Yanki Tea.

Young tea buds harvested by Gorkha ladies, members of Yanki Tea

The family and community at Yanki Tea are locals of Darjeeling, or Gorkha. They are the first tea factory to be started by Gorkhas and licensed by the Tea Board of India. They are making orthodox and handmade teas that are spectacular and ready for the market.

Unfortunately, today, they are not making tea. No tea is being made in Darjeeling due to a strike that has been initiated by the general public of the area in solidarity to demand an independent state of India, Gorkhaland. The local people site that the West Bengal government has not properly represented them, has treated them as second class citizens, and has even gone so far as to steal their identity by making Bengali language compulsory. The Gorkha people speak Nepali language.

The local people have stopped working and are protesting peacefully daily. The state has entered security forces to protect the area and has cut off internet connection for the locals. Several innocent civilians have been killed by the hands of government security forces. Please keep our tea making friends in Darjeeling in your hearts during this sad time.

You can read more detail in these two great articles published this week:

Tea Biz “Darjeeling Silence is Deafening” by Dan Bolten
World of Tea “Darjeeling Rise of Gorkhaland” by Jordan Hardin

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