The best teas are grown high in the mountains and harvested by people like Muni Devi pictured here. These teas fetch enormous prices in international markets like Shanghai and New York. However, Himalayan tea communities lack access to those markets. As a result, the next generation is abandoning tea gardens and heading to the cities in search of higher paying jobs.
The Global Tea Exchange is our effort to change that. By providing both monetary and cultural incentives to live in the mountains, we’re working with our Indian and Nepali partners to build a vibrant future for tea.
We choose our suppliers based on two criteria: outstanding quality and progressive practices. These four rare organic teas come from two innovative pioneers:
Meet Desmond Birkbeck, who we met two years ago. We've been working with him since to bring Kumaon teas to the US:
With the proceeds raised by this campaign, we’re launching a two-way cultural exchange program. It will include a Himalayan homestay program for tea producing villages to host foreign guests and international Fellowships for tea producers to visit the US.
We’ve partnered with Avani, a Himalayan non-profit, to develop a program for international guests to stay in mountain villages. This will give tea communities ways to interact with the outside world without leaving their homes and provide international guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in Himalayan culture. The first trip across the mountains of India and Nepal will run April 2018.
There have been few opportunities for remote tea producers to gain international experience in global markets. Leveraging our position as an American-based business, we’re organizing Fellowships that will bring innovative Himalayan producers to the US. We'll select Fellows and organize professional development trainings, networking events with American industry leaders, and public talks that bring together tea producers and tea drinkers.
Our company began four years ago when Raj made a promise: if remote Himalayan communities would grow tea, he would set up a company in the US to sell it. Since then, we've been working to bridge the two worlds we love - the beautiful, raw Himalayas and our homes in America.
Watch Avani's co-founder Rashmi explain how we're working to intercrop tea with indigo, which is used to make the dye in the blue scarf offered in this campaign: