INTERVIEW WITH BINITA CHAMLING
- How long have you been working in the world of tea and how did you get into it?
Although I’m fairly new to the tea business, I am in no way stranger to it. I grew up in an old British bungalow, which sat in the middle of a tea garden, surrounded by beautiful majestic mountains. My childhood memories are filled with long walks around the tea estate with my family.
- Have you always been a tea lover?
Having been exposed to fine tea very early on and coming from a tea-producing nation, I always thought tea was a standard. You tend to stick to the basics thorough-out your life so yes, always been and will be a fine tea lover.
- What is your favourite tea?
First flush black orthodox Temi tea. My household pretty much stock up Temi first flush for the entire year.
- What do you like best about your job?
More then being a tea trader, I am passionate about telling people the story behind my tea, the estate and how lovingly each batch of tea is made. My dad has been associated with the estate for almost all of his working and retired life, which automatically translated on to me. I have seen the estate in every season changing its hue and colour, known the people involved in making the tea. It’s not a job; it’s a part of my existence.
- What is your philosophy as a tea grower?
Temi Tea garden philosophy is “small is beautiful”. The estate is only 126 acres and we only produce about 100 MT of tea a year, so it has and never will be about large volumes. We have had opportunities to expand and grow bigger but we stuck to what we believe. The quality will get compromised in the process, which is not acceptable to us.
- Describe your plantation (location, native plants, animals etc.)
Tami Tea garden is situated in amidst the beautiful Himalayas of Sikkim. Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world, the protective deity of Sikkim, overlooks the estate giving it a breath-taking view and freshness. The tea estate is lined with pine and cherry teas. Every year in autumn, when the cherry tea blossoms to its glory, the estate looks like a fragment from the postcard.
- What makes your tea special?
The tenderness that goes in plucking the tea, each batch that is crafted so lovingly and delicately, to retain the natural aroma that lingers in he Himalaya makes the tea very special.