India

Sikkim

The production and industry of tea are relatively recent in Sikkim. The first garden was created in Kewzing (southern part of the district) by the Indian government in 1960 in order to provide tea for the Tibetian refugees living in Rabongla, site of a refugee camp. The garden did not prosper because of a lack of expertise, however the idea did not disappear and a new garden, the TEMI GARDEN, was created on the 27th of November 1968, twenty kilometers south of Kewzing. To avoid the problems encountered in Kewzing, the government called in H.E. Young, an English tea expert. Young was able to produce orthodox tea of a very good quality, resembling very often Darjeeling teas, especially the first flush. Sikkim teas have grown in stature because of the recognition given by the government to the region at the time of the Indian Union. Sikkim has become a relatively autonomous district for which one needs a special visa, in addition to the Indian visa. Approximately 500 acres of tea trees, predominantly clonal and the rest Chinese tea trees, grow on the plantation. Sikkim is a majestic plantation situated between 1400 and 2200 meters in altitude with a yearly production of 100 tons. Since 2008 the plantation is certified by IMO, HACCP and ISO 22000. However, they have never done the necessary to have the certifications recognized by European and western import organizations. The result is that Temi, the only tea garden in Sikkim, is still under government control and produces organic teas without anyone knowing it.

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