As part of our celebration of (Mother) Earth Day, we’re highlighting some of our tea suppliers who are at the forefront of sustainable tea practices. They also happen to be women-owned tea companies
Nuxalbari Estates, Darjeeling, India
At Nuxalbari, tea plants are grown from seed, rather than cuttings or clones from existing plants. This is a more time consuming approach, but it yields more genetic diversity, and results in plants that are more drought and pest-tolerant.
But they don’t just plant tea. Nuxalbari is in an elephant corridor, serving an important purpose for the endangered Asian Elephant. For the purpose of protecting the elephants, and for increasing biodiversity, rewilding has been planned over many acres of the estate. Nuxalbari is also working to become food self-sufficient - growing their own food organically, creating a food forest. All of this has resulted in a significant increase in the number of species on the Estate.
Chota Tingrai Estates, Assam, India
Mana Organics, led by Avantika Jalan, manages a number of tea estates owned by her family in Assam. They encourage biodiversity and avoid chemical use in their certified organic sections. They achieve sustainability through fully integrated, closed-loop farming. Waste from the estate, as well as integration with the local communities’ waste management system, is used to produce organic inputs, generating more than 100 tons of compost every season.
Mana Organics also plants trees at the estates, as well as green manuring plants which increase soil carbon content and fertility.
Tea Studio, Tamil Nadu, India
Rather than growing their own tea (vast tea estates are uncommon in the Nilgiris), Tea Studio purchases their leaves from local farmers, working with them to encourage and foster organic techniques. Agro-chemicals have never been used in this area, simply because they were too expensive for the farmers. The smallholders who farm this area grow a variety of crops including tea on their plots. This maintains the diversity and integrity of the soil and environment.
When building the factory, Tea Studio applied sustainable green practices to ensure a low environmental impact, clean air, and no risk of contaminants in the surrounding valley from which their leaves come. This included moving away from coal or wood to power their tea-making machinery (for drying and roasting).
Callisto Teas from Tea Studio: Heart of Gold
Tea Hawaii incorporates practices of soil enrichment, agro-forestry and carbon sequestration to support a vibrant and diverse ecosystem. At the forefront of Tea Hawaii’s processes are farming methods that recognize and support the relationship between tea plants (camellia sinensis) and the native forest. A recipient of The Leafies ‘Gaia’ award, owner Eva Lee stated: ‘What the plant provides us with culturally and nutritionally comes as a result of the surrounding environment. This relationship to the native forest has expanded and strengthened the interests of how we can participate in its conservation.’
Callisto Teas from Tea Hawaii: Pele’s Glow