Embarking on a Tea Journey
I am embarking on a world tea journey, hoping to learn about harvesting tea, it’s benefits, & the various cultures and traditions that surround it in different parts of the world. I hope to explore tea in India, China, Japan, & Taiwan in the upcoming year.
I am already connected to a tea farm in Nepal to start my trip, but am at a loss for how to best experience it hands on in the other countries. Does anyone have any tips on how I can meet local tea farmers, learn about their cultivation and also about the benefits, healing powers and culture surrounding tea in any of those other countries?
Thank you in advance for your expertise!
Just googling ‘ tea farm tour’ will get you a LOT of hits, and I’d suggest sticking with this pre-planned tours to start with because 1) they’ll be to farms and estates that are already comfortable and willing to do tours and 2) you’ll greatly lesson the language barrier by having guides, people who have done previous tours, and other tourists with you.
There are some tea companies that do also plan trips. There was a post earlier this year on Steepster for one to Japan:
And there’s also Raj with Young Mountain who plans trips to India (he’s cool; he’s also involved in getting tea production expanded to other areas of India, like Kumaon, and sells some of the initial tea experiments produced on the website):
Very interesting stuff! I’m ethnically North Indian and Nepalese and I have to give the guy major props for doing what he’s doing. Indian tea farmers are in seriously bad shape at many estates; the way many tea estates are run in India harks back to the days of indentured servitude and even slavery. The kind of attention and care some Indian entrepreneurs are putting into tea cultivation in India can really help turn things around—at the very least, it gets people taking a good long look at tea farming in India, and hopefully that will stimulate discourse about the rampant abuses that occur in Indian agriculture (not just tea)!
Thanks for the links AJ! I’m a bit hesitant of joining tours/prepared trips because I’m hoping to really get a truly local, hands on experience even potentially working on the farms to learn the process fully, but Raj’s trips sound very interesting and could work for me. I agree TeaLife.HK that the attention brought to the horrific work conditions in this industry is extremely important, and I’m hoping I can learn in what ways things can be changed and how.
Paying them enough to even be able to eat is a start…at some estates, tea pickers and their children are literally dying of starvation! Unfortunately looking down on the class that does all the grunt work is ingrained in Indian culture and has been for centuries. Yes, people are generous and will feed them, but pay them enough to actually live a decent life? A ridiculous concept to many
I did a tea tour in Kyoto, Japan and wrote about it. Hopefully this will give you an idea of what places you would like to visit.
I have not been on the tours offered by World Tea Tours but the owner, Dan Robertson, has an extensive network of contacts and is very experienced with tea tours – the company has a good rep as far as I know. I’d love to go on the India/Sri Lanka one this October but I don’t want to go to such cool places without my other half and he is NOT into tea. :)
I’m in the same boat (I’m willing to bet a lot of us are).
My husband likes tea, but he’s not crazy enough to want to go on a whole multi-day tour about it. A beer tour, however? That he could get behind ;)
Now if only there was a tea and beer tour… That would be heaven! Haha and thank you Nicole for the links and idea!
Hmmmm I could get behind a beer and tea tour! If someone isn’t already doing that in Japan, they should! I visited one of my favorite breweries in Okinawa a few years ago (Orion). I really didn’t want to drink much beer after I saw some of the guts on the other guys on the tour! :( But still put away four beers since my brother was driving and couldn’t drink his. lol