People often ask me how a tea grower can start to sell their tea through Tealet. Although we didn’t have a set procedure for vetting growers in place when I first started to connect with our original network of growers, we have realized the importance of digging deep to learn the true story of the garden before promoting their teas. This lesson was reinforced on a journey my brother and I recently took to Asia to visit 14 different tea growing regions.
The vetting process now takes six months, on average, and involves multiple email correspondences, skype meetings, forms to fill, sampling, and cross referencing with our established network in the industry. One of the most exciting new gardens that has been discovered by our good friend Rajiv Lochan, Chabessey, is located just on the border of Nepal and India. The Chabessey garden is currently going through our vetting process as are dozens of other gardens.
I first heard about Chabessey from Rajiv over a month ago and have already received samples and video footage from the garden which was captured by Rajiv. My team has recently taken this footage and made a video. What we have learned is that this very modest family is cultivating and processing tea on a small scale, yet has the potential to build a brand for itself in the specialty tea market. We haven’t heard much from this garden before because their teas have been marketed under a different brand. This is a common story we have heard from Nepal as well as other regions. We look forward to welcoming many more growers to our network to learn their individual stories as well as promote and sell their teas. Be on the lookout for hidden gems similar to Chabessey coming from regions such as Nilgiri, Burma, and Kenya.
What is next for Chabessey? Now that we have a small amount of their second flush 2014 black tea, we will be sharing samples with experienced tasters and interested parties. Although we found the tea to be unique and promising there is room for improvement. We will work with our collaborative group of tasters and tea consultants to bring the knowledge and resources forward for this grower to optimize tea quality. Over time, we foresee putting these experiences together in a manual which can be used by other small-scaled producers to improve their quality.
We will continue to tell the story of Chabessey, and all the other amazing tea gardens we discover, and prepare their teas for introduction to the specialty tea market. If you would like to help in this process please email [email protected] to request more information and we will let you know how you can get your hands on some samples so you can taste the tea for yourself. I’m sure the Chabessey family will be happy to receive your feedback as they go on a journey to make world class tea for you.