Thursday, August 1, 2013

“Chaiwalk – into the world of Tea Tourism”

Assam, the north eastern state of India, land of rich biodiversity with varieties of flora and fauna, is an attractive destination , perfectly suitable for tourist to spend quality time amidst nature away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Tea, an integral part of Assam, has given rise to a new format of tourism called ‘Tea tourism’. the lush green carpet of tea bushes spread till your vision can take you through, gives an enthralling view. staying in British era bungalows watching the journey of your favorite brew from the leaf stage in tea garden to your cup and savoring the fresh one, is indeed very amusing.

We had this exciting opportunity of hosting a couple from Germany, Nina and Johannes, at our tea garden located at Jeypore village, some 60 Kms away from Dibrugarh, the nearest airport. Being a first for us to host guest from abroad, we had a mixed feeling of excitement and nervousness. the guest arrived late in the evening and since it was already dark so we didn’t plan much to do, just some chit chatting about the place and people, quick dinner and called it a day. Their stay arrangements were done at one of the staff’s place.

Day in Tea garden starts quite early, so do our guest’s next day, with freshly brewed Assam (tea). The day’s itinerary included visiting tea garden, watching tea processing and some local sightseeing. After breakfast we went to the garden to watch tea leaf plucking. The rain fed green carpet of tea leaves glowing under the sun rays and the plucker workers joined together to welcome our guest couple, surprising and smiley faces filled with expressions of excitement. Leaf plucking is done both, by the male and the female workers but mainly females with their nimble hands due to the tender nature of the bushes. The tea bushes maintain the same height throughout their life cycle because they are pruned at the end of every season. There are various styles of pruning depending on the bush type, leaf plucking cycle, etc. Our German friends also tried their newly acquired skills of leaf plucking.  Nina, one of the guest, went a step ahead. She wore a Jappi (traditional hat) with a bamboo basket hanging on her back to look exactly like the plucker woman, trying her hands on plucking and she was a quick learner on it which earned her a lot of appreciations. From here we moved ahead to see the processing plant. it was a black CTC tea manufacturing plant. CTC stands for Cut , Tear and Curl. Tea leaves brought from the garden were being spread on the ‘troughs’ for ‘withering’ from where they are fed into CTC machine. After ‘fermenting’ and ‘drying’ , it goes to the ‘sorting chamber’ for getting sorted into different grades or types. Finally packed into big bags, ready to be dispatched. Throughout the tour, our guest couple were keenly observing and listening to the factory manager who acted as a guide. The expressions on their  faces and frequent questions clearly showed how surprised and excited they were seeing the Tea processing right in front of them. The ‘chaiwalk’ came to end with a cup of freshly brewed Assam.
By this time the lunch was ready. Next part of the tour included local sightseeing. After lunch we set out to see Buddhist monasteries, temples, Rain-forest jungle, village woman folk working on handlooms carving out traditional designer clothes, tasted some local delicacies and had a ride on a country boat over ‘Burhi Dihing’ river, a tributary of river Brahmaputra flowing nearby.  For the evening, an outdoor bonfire get together was planned , but due to sudden heavy downpour, we had to remain confined indoors. After dinner, played some indoor card games, chit-chatting, etc. till the time all were fully drained out of energy. Next day morning marked the departure of Nina and Johannes and we had to let them go with a promise to meet again. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Tea Etiquette 101

Tea should not be drunk too cold. There are several reasons for this. The main one which is that tea must not be made too strong. The intensity of a strong brew is not its real, natural flavor but a chemical reaction. By the same reckoning, do not be tempted to put too many leaves in a pot,

As the Tea cools, Vitamin A and B will vanish, to be replaced by tannin, a strong chemical that will eat away at your stomach walls. Next time you are tempted to gulp a glass of cold Tea, choose a cup of warm Green Tea instead. It will lift your thirst better.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

How to call 'Tea' in different languages

Afrikaans: tee

Albanian: caj (pronounced chai)

Arabic: chai or shai

Armenian: te

Azerbaijani: caj (pronounced chai)

Basque: tea

Belarusian: harbatu

Bengali/Bangla: cha

Bulgarian: chai

Catalan: té

Chinese (Cantonese): cha

Chinese (Mandarin): cha (second tone / pronounced with the "a" in a rising tone)

Croatian: caj (pronounced chai)

Czech: caj (pronounced cha-i)

Danish: te

Dutch: thee

English: tea

Esperanto: teo

Filipino/Tagalog: tsaa

Finnish: tee

French: le thé (masculine)

Galician: té

Georgian: chai

German: der Tee (masculine; the “T” is capitalized because all German nouns are capitalized)

Greek: tsai

Haitian Creole: té

Hebrew: teh


Hungarian: tea (plural: teak)

Irish: tae

Italian: te (pronounced teh)

Icelandic: te

Indonesian: teh

Japanese: ocha (-cha is used as a suffix)

Korean: cha

Latvian: teja (pronounced tay-ya)

Lithuanian: arbata

Luxembourgish: Téi (like in German, all nouns are capitalized in Luxembourish)

Macedonian: chaj (pronounced chai)

Malay: teh

Maltese: te

Norwegian: te

Persian: chay (pronounced chai in most areas)

Polish: herbata

Portuguese: cha (pronounced shah with a Brazilian accent)

Romanian: ceai

Russian: chai

Serbian: caj (pronounced chai)

Sinhalese (Sri Lanka): thé (The word for teapot is actually a Dutch loanword. It is theepot.)

Slovak: caj (pronounced chai)

Slovenian: caj (pronounced chai)

Somali: shaah

Spanish: el té (masculine; pronounced tay)

Swahili: chai (pronounced cha-i)

Swedish: te

Taiwanese: de (boba naicha refers to Taiwan’s popular “tapioca pearl tea”)

Tamil (Sri Lanka): tea

Thai: chah (chah yen refers to Thai iced Tea)

Tibetan: cha or ja

Turkish: cay (pronounced chai)

Ukrainian: chaj (pronounced chay)

Urdu: chai

(North) Vietnamese: che

(South) Vietnamese: tra (sometimes pronounced cha or ja)

Wolof: achai (pronounced uh-chuy)

Welsh: te

Yiddish: tey

Zulu: itiye

(courtesy :

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cool Uses For Tea and Tea Bags

Eye bags: Had a hard day at work? Put some warm used tea bags over your closed eyes for 15 minutes to sooth your tired and sore peepers.
Remove smelly odors on your skin: After you've touched something stinky while cooking, like onions or fish, wash your hands with tea to remove the smell. If your feet tend to smell, then soak them in tea every day for 20 minutes to reduce odor.
Mop wooden floors and clean wooden furniture: Add a bit of black tea to your mop when you're mopping up your wooden floors. The leaves' natural properties will help add color and shine up the dull wood.
Clean reflective surfaces: If there are grease stains that won't come off your glass surfaces or mirrors, then dip some cloth in brewed tea and wipe them down.
Deodorize rooms or items: To make your room smell fresh, place unused tea bags in certain areas to clear the air. If there is something specific you want to freshen up, like a pair of shoes, then place a tea bag in it to absorb the smell.
Feed your plants: Occasionally, for plants that prefer acidic soil, water them with tea. The tea will change the pH level of the soil and make it more acidic.
Tenderize meat: Consider marinating your meat in tea to tenderize it. The tannins in the tea will soften the meat. Use strong black tea and pour it over the meat before you put it in the oven.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tea ( Chai ) Flavorings

People like to combine two or more flavors sometimes.  Some of the most commonly used flavorings are:
Ginger:  A winter favorite, all you need is a tiny slice of ginger, either pounded or grated. Mix with tea while brewing.
Cardamom:  One pod for 1-2 cups (depending on how strong you want it), pounded.
Fennel Seeds (Saunf): One fourth of a teaspoon per cup of tea makes for a superbly aromatic blend, ideal for warm days. It helps in  digestion.
Tulsi: Also known as Holy Basil, tulsi adds a wonderful flavor.
Mint: A nice substitute for tulsi leaves. Its gives a minty flavor.
Cinnamon:  a half inch stick per cup is adequate to give a nice flavor.
Fennel Lemongrass: A popular Thai ingredient that adds fresh citrus flavor.
Spice Blend: The most popular blend contains five elements in equal quantities – fennel seeds (saunf), cardamom, peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon. This masala is so strong that you only need a pinch of it per cup of tea.