It’s hard to believe that it has been five years since I journeyed to Sri-Lanka, India, and Nepal for a tea tour that spanned key tea growing regions in those three countries. I discovered the tour in a copy of Tea Magazine. There it was, a World Tea Tours trip to India for people in the tea business or folks like me who are just passionate about tea.
It was an amazing trip. The tour included the tea regions of Nilgiri, Assam, and Darjeeling in India as well as Nepal and Sri-Lanka. We visited tea estates and plantations, learned how to do a tea tasting (think wine tasting – lots in common), attended a tea auction, met with Tea Boards, went into the fields and picked tea, etc.
We dined at private homes, often the estate manager’s home where we got a first hand look and taste of the regions of India. And of course, we visited a number of the traditional sites like the Taj Mahal, Jaipur, temples, city sites in Kolkata and New Delhi, etc.
But it was mostly a tea immersion trip – a trip to learn about tea, where and how it is grown, harvested, processed, sold, and shipped. Indeed I was, and still am, a novice. My fellow travelers, many of whom are in the biz were busy taking notes and photos throughout. I was trying to keep my head above water and not be overwhelmed.
Our lodgings were consistently excellent. A number of India’s old tea estates have been turned into wonderful lodges or hotels. By far my favorite lodging was the Wild Mahseer Lodge in Assam which had an elegance and decor that was sublime. I could have stayed for several days enjoying day trips to the various estates in the region, as well as the luxurious setting. Wild Mahseer is one of the nicest places I have ever stayed on any continent.
Dan Robertson is the owner of World Tea Tours as well as The Tea House in Naperville, IL. He’s a remarkable person and I feel quite fortunate to have taken my first tea immersion trip under his leadership. He continues to grow and expand his trips and itineraries and I plan to participate in one of his China tours.