This morning I left for Kolkata. From there I will travel to Darjeeling, probably on Tuesday. The spring harvest will begin soon, and it is time to visit a few plantations, find out more about the crop, and “test the temperature” of the region in more ways than one. Tea plants go to sleep in the winter, because of the cold, and wake up again when the air warms up. Inversely, the people get fired up during the winter months over the issue of independence, and cool down in the spring when the tea and tourist trades pick up again.
There is an important stage in tea processing that I am sorry not to be able to share with you: the “withering”. This involves blowing air – preferably cold – over the leaves, which give off an incredible fragrance like white flowers, lily and jasmine. In this photo taken in Tomsong in October 2010, during a trip with the team, everyone is cupping leaves in their hands and inhaling the wonderful aroma.
If you would like to see some other highlights from our trip, click on this link (in French):