High Mountain Oolong Tea
From the Far East
Teas have always been a part of the scenic landscape of the hilly states of the far north-east. The geographically closer areas of Assam and Darjeeling have been excluded from this region. Temi Tea Estate of Sikkim is one of the oldest in the region being established in 1969 by the government of Sikkim. Donyi Polo in Arunachal Pradesh was planted in 1986, the first tea garden in this state. There are few more estates that have been started in the last decade and which are doing well, although they are very small estates.
The tea estates from this region are young but as the terroir is similar to Darjeeling, the teas are high in quality and improve year on year. Sikkim’s Temi tea is of a very good quality and travels worldwide to please enthusiasts. Temi tea garden produces pure tea "golden flowery orange pekoe #1” and Temi tea is also organic certified. Recently, another boutique player has come in and brings in sophisticated Sikkim tea.
Bermiok Tea Estate, Sikkim
The plantation to this private estate is spread over 15 acres and was started in 2002. It is one of the youngest gardens in tea history and is completely organic. The Bermiok Tea Estate stands at an elevation of 2500ft to 3200ft in the highlands of Sikkim. Because it is a young garden liquors from here are more floral, with aromas of fresh dew drops, which is hard to find in this region. Most of the garden is planted with Chinary bushes with patches of TV1 and TV2 clonal bushes. The estate produces around 1200 kgs of tea in a year.
Another name worth mentioning is the Lakyrsiew Tea Estate, Meghalaya.
As young as Bermiok in Sikkim, this tea estate started plantation in 2002 and has grown to be quite a name to reckon. The plantation is situated on the southern bank of Umiam lake at an altitude of between 1,000 and 1,300 metres. They produce tiny quantities of hill tea - about 5000 kilograms a year - from 25 acres of plantation. Unburdened by the practices of large tea estates, they pluck only the finest leaf and discard the rest. From top to bottom, everyone at Lakyrsiew is committed to quality above everything else. The garden obtained its organic certification in 2010.