women tea pickers in Southern IndiaI recently returned from three weeks abroad during which I traveled through the tea estates of Southern India.

One thing I discovered during my travels was that we take for granted the leaves that we love.  More specifically, we take for granted the people who pick the leaves that we love, and these people are mostly women who work an average of six days a week for not much more than $1.50 per day.

women tea pickers in Southern IndiaI met a group of women who made me smile with their curiosity and generosity on a morning walk through the Tata Tea estates (which was completely by accident, mind you!).  I wandered up a hill, alone in the peace and tranquility of the early misty morning.  I took in the sights and sounds, when – quite suddenly – one by one, these women with large bushels on their heads walked passed, steadily and gracefully on a mission toward the rolling tea fields.

Naja in Southern IndiaAs a tea lover who loves more than just the drink these leaves make, but every aspect of what this industry offers, I was enthralled by the vision of bright saris and beautiful brown women working so that you and I can have an excellent cup of tea.  I realized as I received a first-hand lesson from one of these kind souls that, although I knew women were the ideal tea pickers for their delicate hands, they have a strength that only comes from working in fields with little reward or thanks and surviving it.  And they do this with pride and a work ethic that is rarely seen today.

So I want to thank the women who make my favorite cup of tea possible.  Thank you for your dedication to making the number two beverage possible.  Check out my video of these amazing women.