In a world where we often feel powerless to help, here is something we can do together to make our lives immeasurably better and support one of the best tea gardens in the world.
Pre-purchase an entire harvest...
After the huge success of the Jun Chiyabari Special Harvest in Nepal last autumn and the Satemwa Spring harvest this year in Malawi we are again pre-buying a harvest together - this time at Lakyrsiew in India.
As part of our #teachange campaign we are asking for your help to reshape the tea world and support a tea community directly.
Between now and the end of October we are taking orders for a special 2021 autumn harvest that will be picked and crafted over the next few weeks in the hills of Lakyrsiew, Meghalaya - home of our Cloud Tea.
They will make a special handcrafted black tea from the finest autumn leaf, just for us. Something truly unique and exceptional.
The farm is owned and run by Nayantara Linnebank. She will craft this harvest together with her son Boris. Here are his words to beautifully describe this wonderful tea:
"As the Monsoon abates sometime in September, the ambient temperature drops and the days get shorter. That is when the growth of the new tea leaves slows down; Autumn is closing in.
Traces of the monsoon are still here, though. Giant clouds rise in sky like castles, and the rain they shed has a mesmerizing effect on Lakyrsiew garden and the jungle that envelops it. Birds sing louder, their song sometimes distorted by sheets of rain as they dart between the shade trees that shield the tea bushes. The monkeys are more playful, teasing the dogs who lie on the porch, unwilling to chase them.
And then suddenly Autumn comes and the air becomes dryer, the air cooler, the light thinner and more flat-angled. Sunset cuts the hills horizontally in half, leaving only the top illuminated, and the clouds drift higher and higher, withdrawing until next year. The bushes grow much slower now, reclining into a more laconic pace. From producing fresh leaf for plucking every four or five days during the warm, rainy season, the bushes now take a leisurely 10 or even 12 days between harvests."
"It is when the slower growth comes after the monsoons that concentrates the hallmark Lakyrsiew flavours - cocoa, malt, stone fruit, honey - and accentuates its unique character and floral scents. In Autumn the character becomes most marked, the flavour profile concentrated.
Our autumn tea tastes particularly of honey, but there are many layers. This special harvest combines tea from different fields and cultivars , all with their own unique flavours:
Origin and Craft
AV2 cultivar, a beautiful, bright green tree from Darjeeling with impossibly thin leaves and which always plays first host to whatever enemy pest might stumble into the garden, retains some of that delightful fresh floral aroma.
B157, another Darjeeling cultivar with round, glossy leaves and which has a high content of geraniol - the oil that gives roses their fragrance - somehow marries the richness of roses with malt and cocoa.
Lakyrsiew’s other main tea bush, T78 sits somewhere in between. The plant grows in the shape of a stemmed wine glass. The leaves are long and thin, but not like AV2 and they are glossy without being flashy. Before this year we had not made lots with purely T78 but they have been exceptionally good; the texture is like cream and the flavour is sweet and complex without ever approaching bitterness. And it is a perfect complement to the other cultivars, lifting their characteristics.
On the edge of Lakyrsiew garden where the jungle begins once again, there is a section of T78 plants which has been producing week after week of perfect leaf, resisting any infestation of pests or weeds and resting on terrain that makes it easy to pluck. Here in the steep hills, the rich red clay that hosts the tea bushes can get very slippery with abundant rain, and I marvel at the pluckers who navigate the terraces and paths that the monsoon tries to obscure with such ease. But in this section, the task is easy and so we have returned time and again to harvest.
It is from these three cultivars that we’re assembling a small, top-quality lot, exclusively for Rare Tea Company. Henrietta Lovell, who has known Lakyrsiew almost since the start, has visited the garden, and knows exactly how she likes Lakyrsiew tea made, has guided us with specific instructions for the composition and manufacture of Lakyrsiew Special Autumn 2021 Special Harvest. We are honoured by the confidence she has shown in Lakyrsiew through the years, and confident that we will meet - and exceed - her expectations in what is turning out the difficult but stellar season at Lakyrsiew."
With this direct collaboration between farm, tea company and you, our kind customers, we hope to forge a new model and disrupt the status quo dominated by the big industry players.(Seven companies supply around 90% of the tea sold in Europe and North America. That tea passes between them and through many hands before it reaches the consumer. The value of tea is mostly held by large PLCs not the tea communities who grow and craft it.)
This is direct trade, a guaranteed price, set by the farm paid to the farmer and bought as it is harvested – by you.
And it doesn’t have to stay with just you. This makes a marvellous Christmas gift delivered in time, wherever you are in the world.
Included in your box will be a storage tin to keep the tea fresh and a card that tells the story of this tea. The box can be shipped anywhere in the world your loved ones might be.