Makaibari Tea Estate

Anupa at the Tea Room, checking Makaibari tea

Makaibari Facts

  • Established in 1859, oldest garden in Darjeeling.
  • Elevation - 1500 metres.
  • Harvest season: March - November
  • Certified Organic, Biodynamic and Fair Trade      

Read more here about the Makaibari Estate Manager and how tea is manufactured for us.
We have a wide variety of Makaibari Teas - Click Here to Shop the Collection.

The 2021 Makaibari Season

We have new season inventory available for you. 1st and 2nd flush are here as well as new lots of Long Leaf Green and Silver Tips. There are still significant disruptions to the supply chain, mostly due to lack of vessel space and reduced sailings. Every stage of the chain is experiencing price increases but we are not passing on all our increases to you, particularly for our Makaibari teas which are our specialty. As new lots come in, we will post them prominently on our home page and notify you through our Newsletters.

For fans of Makaibari - our teas are guaranteed & authentic Makaibari and we will support it with specific lot numbers, origin details and harvest nuances. We stand by it! Click Here to Shop Makaibari!

Previous Season

As usual, the previous season's tea are available at a discount. Keep in mind, we are the only company that clearly distinguishes between seasons and we will not pass off old stock as new. you have our word on it - it is our guarantee to you.

Makaibari Tea Manufacture

  • The Makaibari harvest starts with the first flush in March and continues till November. The first day of the season, “Paila Pati” (first leaf) is usually celebrated with special gifts and blessings.
  • Workers pick 90 acres of tea fields daily, covering the entire farm in 6 days.
  • All the bushes are picked once a week from the commencement of harvest till its close in late Fall.
  • Typically, about 200 women and 100 men pick the leaf daily.
  • Makaibari employs about 600-625 workers each year. Together with their families, about 1100 people live at Makaibari.
  • Makaibari produces Black, Green, Oolong, Silver Tips and White Tea.
  • Tea grades include FTGFOP1S Leaf, TGBOP1 Brokens and GOF Fannings
  • Limited Production teas are produced when conditions are ideal. These may include Silver Tips Imperial, Crystal Flush or Silver Tips Muscatel.


BBC Travel Gallery 

India's rare tea picked under a full moon - by Kalpana Prodhan, September 2018

Enjoy BBC's Travel coverage of Silver Tips Imperial Tea - CLICK HERE!



Fair Trade at Makaibari

At Makaibari, it is easy to see Fair Trade in action. A Joint Body of workers (an essential component of Fair Trade) meets monthly and prioritizes the numerous projects submitted by the general population. The Makaibari Joint Body has 16 members of whom ten are women, including the Administrator. After discussion and evaluation, it decides how to apportion funds and brings accounts up-to-date. Support Fair Trade - Shop Makaibari Now!

The Makaibari Joint Body Performs Many Tasks:

  • Develops sustainable agricultural skills
  • Holds workshops on family welfare & planning, child care, nutrition & sanitation
  • Develops social development skills such as animal husbandry and orchid cultivation
  • Provides specialized medical help
  • Promotes education
  • Furthers grass roots entrepreneurial projects

Joint Body Loans & Projects at Makaibari

Over the past few years, hundreds of projects were approved and successfully implemented in both Makaibari and in neighboring areas. Applications are received every week and evaluated once monthly based on need, and then prioritized. The average loan is for a few hundred dollars but larger amounts are granted, when needed. The loan period is typically for 2 years at a maximum interest of 5% and repaid in 24 equal installments. Medical or educational assistance loans are interest-free. Remarkably, the failure rate is zero and not a single loan has been in default.

Projects have included the purchase of vaccines and specialized medical needs, livestock purchases, sanitation improvements, potable water deployment, social ceremonies, higher education, computer training and house improvements.

Recently, the Joint Body assisted the entire Makaibari community by building 'samaj ghars' (small community centers), granting stipends to all senior school students, giving new Tiffin Boxes to all workers, providing loans to purchase dairy cows, granting monetary aid to cancer patients and to educate and encourage a new Herbal Unit promoting naturopathy and local herbal medicinal cures.

Learning Centre at Makaibari

Several years ago, a library was inaugurated with 1600 books with the help of the community and a couple of volunteers from the U.S. It follows all the principles of a good library - a card index system, books categorized properly, simple guidelines for all to follow and a couple of computers for both children and adults. The 2-story building houses a child care creche on the bottom floor which makes this a comprehensive learning and care center at the plantation.

 Your purchase of any Fair Trade tea directly contributes to the well-being of a tea worker. So keep selecting Fair Trade teas on our site.  It is an easy way of making the right choice.

 Awards and Accolades

  • Introduction of bio-gas units (methane) which provide a renewable fuel thus eliminating the need to cut down forests for firewood.
  • Pioneering women’s participation in management.
  • Providing benefits exceeding those mandated by the government, e.g., application of biodynamic gardening techniques.
  • Introduction of permaculture in 1975 with forests, leguminous shade trees, indigenous fruit trees, ground creepers, vegetation and finally, tea.
  • Certified biodynamic by Demeter in 1991
  • Certified Fair Trade in 1992.
  • Joint Forest Management Application – total integration of the forest with living creatures to create a holistic living environment.
  • Award-winning Silver Tips, breaking private and auction records.
  • Consideration by World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Campaign with the Gift of the Earth designation for the introduction of Integrated Forest Management to the farm.
  • Presented with the Organic Food Award from Britain’s SOIL Association for the Demeter Darjeeling Tea Makaibari.
  • Awarded with the highest price ever paid for an Indian tea at auction - $1850/kg. for Makaibari Silver Tips Imperial.
  • Certified Organic in 1988.