Our mission is to work with Indian and Nepali communities to raise the quality of their tea, so they can earn more and raise the quality of their lives.
Our mission grows out of a grander vision that inspires all our work, a vision of a sustainable future for Himalayan farmers and their families. Our work is inspired by reaching the day where the good people who make the world's teas have strong stable incomes, determination, and are able to live vibrant lifestyles. Sadly, the gap between that vision and reality is significant; right now, once-rich mountain communities are being hollowed out by urban migration, leaving vacant land that gets washed out during landslides.
However we can all do a little bit to make the world a more beautiful place that we found it. Every purchase you make supports our mission, and brings us one step closer to a world where farmers can live their best lives.
Our partnerships with tea famers run deepest in Kumaon, where tea farmers today are earning 4x the industry average. 90% of these farmers are women, many experiencing financial independence through tea for the first time their lives. With these earnings, they are investing in their children's education; new tools for farming; and food so they no longer live in subsistence conditions.
And that’s just the beginning. We're working with a Kumaon village of tea farmers to launch a farmer-owned tea processing facility, and organizing trainings and workshops so they are empowered to be leaders of a new wave of Indian tea that transforms a global industry. Over time, this new model of tea will transform the way Himalayan tea is grown and how it can lead to better teas and lives for everyone involved.
Beyond Kumaon, we work with more than 850 farmers across 5 regions in India and Nepal. It is an honor to bring these teas to you, and in the process to unlock tea's spirit of positive change for all who enjoy the magic of the leaf.
Raise your cup.
It all began in 2013, when our founder, Raj, was working in the remote, picturesque Himalayan region of Kumaon. Traveling by buses crammed with people and goats, he passed through empty village after empty village, each surrounded by fallow farmland and washed out roads. He learned that the deserted towns were effects of urban migration, a problem shared by villages across the Himalayas. The region’s youth were fleeing to the cities in search of career opportunities, and the once-rich farmland was slowly becoming unstable, triggering landslides during the monsoons.
The remaining villagers were skilled growers, living vibrant lives through subsistence farming. Local farmers were interested in reviving abandoned tea gardens, while the American specialty tea market was simultaneously taking off. With the potential for high-end Indian tea largely untapped, there seemed to be a widening hole in the market that could be filled by smaller growers. And that’s when the idea that would later become Young Mountain Tea was sparked.
History of Indian Tea
Tea has a long, fascinating history. China was the world’s first producer of tea, and much of the equipment used to craft tea worldwide was adapted from ancient Chinese methods. But how did tea plants get to India and Nepal, where we source our loose-leaf?
In the mid-1800s, the British stole Camellia sinensis saplings from China and brought them to India, planting the saplings first in the northern Indian town of Saharanpur, near Kumaon (where much of our single-origin tea flourishes). The Indian tea industry’s colonial roots are complex and dark, but the result was a complete reinvention of how tea is made. India went from having no commercial tea production to becoming the world’s largest producer of tea in just four decades, outpacing China’s impressive export history. The new Indian model dramatically reshaped the global tea trade, impacting all aspects of the drink—from production in the mountains, to shipping internationally, to marketing to the highest ends of society. Today, India’s influence on tea continues, even as the industry evolves.
Our Tea Origins
You may notice that many of our tea names reflect the regions from which they hail—Darjeeling, Kumaon, and Nilgiri to name a few. Just like wine, all tea comes from the same plant, so regional differences in soils impact flavor. Want to know where your favorite cup is grown? See our map below. Or, to really understand a tea’s origins, travel to the source.