Diego Morlachetti runs a school of tea in Rosario, Argentina, which is a licensee under the auspices of the American Tea Masters Association (ATMA) based in San Diego. The ATMA, which is run by its legendary Executive Director Chas Kroll, awards a Certified Tea Master designation to those who successfully complete their Tea Mastery Certification Course, which is taught in various locations. From April 27 to May 10, 2012, a group associated with Diego’s Argentinian Tea School, comprised of 25 tea lovers, tea vendors, and tea writers, visited India and Nepal, including Darjeeling, Terai, and Bihar to experience Indian culture and the Indian tea industry.
During the group’s visit, we promoted our Doke teas grown in Bihar under the slogan, “Tea from the land of Buddha.” The group appreciated seeing a new tea industry being set up in a non-traditional tea-growing area, as declared by the Tea Board. They also enjoyed our handmade organic white teas. The group’s visit was covered thoroughly by the print and electronic media, initiating a new wave of enthusiasm – both by the growers in our area as well as by the consumers – an example being a website promoted by new Hawaiian small tea farmers.
The group also visited the Taj Mahal, Delhi, Jaipur, and other locales to learn about Indian culture and visited Darjeeling and its adjoining Nepal Himalayan tea industry to see the cultivation and manufacture of the aromatic teas in these areas. Latin Americans are not generally exposed to Darjeeling teas and this was a first-ever serious effort to have a direct dialogue, which up until now was only through German tea traders.
It was at the World Tea Expo 2011 where we first met Diego and the idea for this trip was hatched. At the World Tea Expo 2012 (just concluded), we furthered this dialogue and hope to organize more such trips in the future. Before concluding, it is important to mention the efforts of Victoria Bisogno of The Club of Tea, also based in Argentina, to promote Darjeeling teas in the traditionally mate-drinking land of Argentina.