Although China has a history of growing tea for over a thousand years and Japan for over 500 years, all teas were handmade and no tea factories existed in these countries. It happened in Darjeeling! The embargo by the Chinese on the Clipper shipments to the U.K, compelled the East India Company to pirate the tea seeds from China, for experimentation in the colonies. Fortunately , the experiment at Darjeeling was so successful, that her teas quickly earned the sobriquet as the Champagne of Tea.
More than 40 years ago, Rajah Banerjee finished his studies in London and returned to the family tea estate in Darjeeling. Thanks a fall from a horse he had the instant realization that the dense tea monoculture was neither environmentally, economically or socially sustainable. Today, his visionary omen has been borne out. Tea production in Darjeeling has declined in the last decades as plantations have declined to soil erosion. In the battle to cut costs, the fertility of the naturally thin soil has been reduced by overuse of chemicals or washed away by landslides. Gaping scars have appeared on the upper slopes, gradually denuded of the native forests that absorbed the worst effects of the monsoon rains, the trees cut for firewood or logged, often illegally, for short-term profit.
This is the story of his Tea Voyage! Discover more.