THE TEA EXPERIENCE
The tea experience being very educational and involving inspired us to open our own tea estate for tourists who would be interested in knowing about how a tea leaf makes it to their tea cup. The tea experience is a complete insight into how our master hands are working from the plantation of the tea to the final aroma. It is a complete process from the tea nursery to the final aroma. The Nya Sylee and Sylee tea estate is spread across 2100 hectares in total with an annual yield of 2 million kgs of tea.
We start our trip to the tea plantations from the tea nursery where tea plants are developed for planting in the tea fields.
Absolute dependence on clones for commercial cultivation of a long duration crop like tea is a risky proposition as all bushes of a clone widely separated in space and time behave in most ways as a single bush whereas being the progeny of a hybrid parents, no two bushes in a population of tea raised from seed are alike. Hence, seed populations can be fitted into a wide range of environmental and cultural conditions without much change in their overall performance. So being genetically different all bushes of a seed population are unlikely to suffer equally from the attack of a pest or a disease while all bushes of a clone will be equally susceptible.
Now we proceed to see the planting of new plants in the fields.
You proceed to witness and experience the plucking of tea leaves in the traditional costume of the pluckers and take pictures for memories.
After the plucking trip, you proceed to see the manufacturing of tea in the tea factory to see the tea leaves take the form of tea granules.
Withering: Withering is the first processing step in the factory and is a process in which freshly plucked leaf is conditioned physically, as well as, chemically for subsequent processing stages. As known, in planter’s perception, “Withering makes or mars the tea”. This is one of the most important tea processing steps, as a desired quality in tea manufacturing is ensured by maintaining the desired level of withering. Various ingenious systems of withering have been used but of these the Trough withering is the most popular system currently being used all over the world. The troughs are of two types – Open trough and Enclosed trough. It is, however, more convenient to load and unload leaf in the open troughs and it is easier to check the progress of wither. Therefore, open troughs are still popular in the industry. In the open type of trough, leaf is spread at a given thickness and air is blown upwards from the bottom of the perforated bed. This is the method being used at Octavius too.
Fermentation: A great deal of attention is paid to regulate the temperature, humidity and the duration of fermentation to ensure that the flavour of the tea remains intact.
Firing/Drying: To get the best quality of our tea, the tea leaves are fired at optimally regulated temperature. Good care is taken not to over-cook the leaves as the process of drying of the produced tea is responsible for addition of flavor to the tea.
Grading: Grading is done by sifting through meshes with a lot of care so that the teas are sorted into different shapes and sizes perfectly.
Weighing and Packing: Close inspection is done while the teas are weighed and packed into tea chests or paper sacks or poly pouches for retailing and exports.
You proceed for a tea tasting session
The Tea Tasting session is an occasion to learn more about tea, while exploring the diversity and quality of teas we have to offer. Information on the unique character of each tea, the type of cultivar, its origin, and the infusion method will be provided as we taste.
TEA TOURISM AND DOOARS
Tea-tourism is a fast growing travel concept in the Eastern Himalayas, mainly in the Darjeeling hills and Dooars foothills. Till recently a hidden treasure, Dooars has in the recent past opened its doors welcoming tourists both domestic and international.
The Dooars valley, stretching from River Teesta on the west to River Sankosh on the east over a span of 130 km by 40 km, forms a major part of Jalpaiguri district. . Lying in the Himalayan foothills in North Bengal plains, it forms a gateway to Bhutan & the North-Eastern states of India.
The Dooars, also called “The forest trail”, has a fascinating and tempting landscape with breathtaking natural beauty, exotic locations and a rich treasure of flora and fauna. A vast texture of dense forests teeming with wildlife, unending tea gardens, babbling rivers, interspersed with quiet or busy settlements, constitute a fascinating tourist destination – the Dooars.
Dooars is indeed one of the very few places left in the country where nature is so lavish of her green facilities.
Get going. Move forward. Aim High. Plan a takeoff. Don’t just sit on the runway and hope someone will come along and push the airplane. It simply won’t happen. Change your attitude and gain some altitude. Believe me, you’ll love it up here.