Durgi - Tea Plucker at Makaibari

As you wind up the Pankhabari road towards Makaibari Estate in Darjeeling, you are mesmerized by the immense beauty stretching all around you. Steep hills lined with green tea bushes, women plucking leaves, winding trails through tea plantations and bamboo trees everywhere. The romance of the area fills the air. You can imagine living out your days here surrounded by the serenity.  As you enter Makaibari territory, you notice everyone greeting you with smiles as you drive by.  This is a couple of years ago and I am with Rajah Banerjee, 4th generation owner and his wife, Srirupa, my sister.  We are family and so are all of Makaibari's workers.  Some have been there all their lives.

Durgi (pictured above) is no exception.  She...

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 Nov 01, 2018  |  Written by Anupa Mueller

October is Fair Trade Month

You’ve probably all seen these labels on products in the grocery store and in specialty markets:  Fair Trade, Fair for Life, World Fair Trade, Fair Trade Federation.  What they have in common is a focus on the worker with the aim to promote equitable trade. It seeks to help producers in developing countries and covers coffee, cocoa, tea, wine, sugar, bananas, flowers and even handicrafts. It has 4 key goals:

  • To pay farmers a decent, living wage.
  • To create direct trade links to farmers, bypassing exploitative middlemen.
  • To provide access to affordable credit.
  • To promote sustainable practices, such as organic farming, that help protect the environment.

In the tea industry, Makaibari Tea Estate was used as a model in the early 1990s to test and develop fair...

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 Sep 30, 2018  |  Written by Anupa Mueller

Makaibari's Intrepid Manager - Mr. Das

 Mr. Das Makaibari Tea Estate - Silver Tips Tea Online Tea Store

The title, Manager, Tea Estate, seems so unassuming.  In actual fact though, the Manager of a Tea Estate is, in equal parts, king, champion, shepherd, COO and tea master.  At most tea gardens in India, the highest ranking person is The Manager.  He wields absolute authority and is the arbiter of quality and taste.  At Makaibari, with the beginning of the 2018 season, Mr. Sanjay Das took over the mantle of Manager, for the first time, without Rajah Banerjee's daily guidance.  Rajah, 4th generation owner of Makaibari, stepped away as Chairman as of March 2018.  

Mr. Sanjay Das Compost Pile - Silver Tips Tea Online Tea Store

Mr. Das learned from the best. Although he has over...

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 Aug 29, 2018  |  Written by Anupa Mueller

May 1, Good Start to the Month

 

After a rainy, dreary April, finally some sun and cheer today on the first day of May.  We celebrate the beginning of this month by the arrival of our Darjeeling Air Freight.  This will be Makaibari's Lot 10/2018 which means it was the tenth batch manufactured this year.  Unlike many tea estates who start in February with very green leaf (sometimes called a forced plucking), we like to give it a few more weeks and select the leaf that is a bit more formed.  It lasts better and provides the characteristic first flush taste our customers have come to love.  Stay tuned - it will take another week or so to clear Customs and then - we start another season of your favorite Makaibari Tea. 

On a personal note, this is my...

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 May 01, 2018  |  Written by Anupa Mueller

Make Every Day Earth Day

 

Hard to believe it is almost 50 years since the concept of Earth Day was introduced.  On April 22, 1970, about 20 million Americans took to the streets in answer to Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson's call for a "national teach-in on the environment".  His partners in this effort were Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey and Denis Hayes from Harvard.

Fast forward to 1990 when a group of environmental leaders requested Denis Hayes to lead another big campaign. Many of us remember that day when 200 million people worldwide in 141 countries participated in efforts to boost environmental issues globally.  In 1995, Senator Nelson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom - the highest honor given to civilians in the United States - for his leading role as the founder of...

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 Apr 21, 2018  |  Written by Anupa Mueller
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