The royals at Buckingham Palace can't do without it on any morning, nor can the Sultan of Brunei and billionaires in Japan. Their morning cuppa is made of premium tea which comes from Makaibari, a garden nestled in the mist-kissed hills of Kurseong in North Bengal. But Makaibari's claim to fame is not just that its produce fetches the highest prices in the world—the oldest tea garden in the subcontinent, it was also the first to go organic, a pioneering experiment that attracts researchers from all over the world.
Though Makaibari Tea Estate is spread over 1,670 acres, tea is grown only on 550 acres, while the rest is covered with sub-tropical forest that is not only vital to the garden's bio-dynamic sustenance, but is also home to over 450 species of birds and animals. Chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides haven't been used in the garden for decades. It is also unique in being a tea garden where the labourers are genuine stakeholders and share a part of the enviable profits.