Temi Sikkim - A Coveted Indian Tea

Temi Sikkim - A Coveted Indian Tea

I worked with this tea for two years before understanding how special it is.  Temi Sikkim is an Indian tea.  It’s from a region just north of Darjeeling, and has a similar taste, but with a strong note of honey.  And every single leaf of it in the world comes from just one estate.

There is only one tea estate in the region of Sikkim, and it’s name is Temi-- hence the name Temi Sikkim.  The Temi estate is about 440 acres, and tea is grown at hedge height for easy leaf plucking and looks something like this:

It is so beautiful as to have become a exclusive but beautiful vacation retreat, much like a vineyard.

Single-estate teas are highly desired.  Many lower-quality teas are gathered from a variety of estates, depending upon how prices vary, and are then mixed together into something generally passable.  Single estate teas are organized around the tea, rather than the market.  If the only estate has a bad year, everyone who sells that tea simply doesn’t have it.  

The most famous single estate tea is Darjeeling.  Darjeeling is a whole region, with multiple estates, but many Darjeeling estates auction off their first crop of the season like fine wines.  Only tea grown in Darjeeling are Darjeeling teas, and only teas grown on the Temi Sikkim estate are Temi Sikkim.  This is because the flavor of these teas has nothing to do with the plants themselves, but the climate and soil which it is grown in.  If a plant from Temi were moved to anywhere else, it will not longer taste like Temi Sikkim.  We explain exactly why this is a little more fully in this article.

If this idea of things having to be grown in a very specific area sounds familiar, it may be because this is exactly how wine works.  A Chardonnay isn’t a Chardonnay if it wasn’t grown in Chardonnay and if it isn’t from France, it isn’t Champagne.  The difference here, of course, is that a true Champagne, grown following a carefully upheld tradition which is hundreds of years old can cost hundreds of dollars, while a fine tea, truly grown on the Temi estate, following traditions which are almost 200 years old, will only run you about 40 cents per cup.

So enjoy a cup of Temi Sikkim black tea - a truly affordable luxury tea.  You owe yourself a small daily pleasure.

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