Study tea on-location with this 14 day traveling curriculum led by professional tea instructor Nigel Melican. Journeying through Assam and the Nilgiris, you'll gain a deep first hand understanding of all aspects of the Indian tea trade, from cultivation to processing to cupping to exporting. Along the way we'll tour world-class tea factories, spend time with tea farmers, and drink the freshest cups as they come straight from the gardens.
This is an excellent opportunity for tea professionals to gain on-site professional development through experiential learning. The curriculum will be developed by world-renowned tea educator and planter Nigel Melican.
We are please to also offer an optional Darjeeling Add-On that will begin immediately following the completion of the India Tea Tour. Please visit this page for details.
WORKING ITINERARY - SUBJECT TO CHANGE BASED ON LOCAL CONDITIONS.
- Day 1: Arrival into Bangalore; most flights arrive at night.
- Day 2: Bangalore: Recover from jetlag, exchange money
- Day 3: Bangalore to Coonoor: Drive Into tea country, light evening orientation
- Day 4: Nilgiris - Coonoor: Introduction to Indian tea. Tours of orthodox and CTC tea factories
- Day 5: Nilgiris - Coonoor: Cultivation. Visit to tea field and chance to harvest teas alongside experienced tea pluckers
- Day 6: Nilgiris - Coonoor: Processing Pt 1. Hands-on workshop making tea in a boutique factory
- Day 7: Nilgiris - Coonoor: Botany: Tea Biochemistry 101
- Day 8: Coonoor to Assam: Travel Day
- Day 9: Assam: Processing Pt 2: Comparison of sea-level production practices against Nilgiri's mountain style
- Day 10: Assam: Industry Growth: Visit to Toklai, the heart of the Indian tea industry's research
- Day 11: Assam: Tasting and Evaluation: Guided cupping and instruction on how to critically evaluate teas
- Day 12: Assam to Kolkata: 4 hour drive followed by 2 hour flight
- Day 13: Kolkata: Exporting: Meet brokers who facilitate direct importing
- Day 14: Assam: Morning debrief; departures for some; Beginning of Darjeeling Add-On for others
Please note that while traveling in India, we're almost guaranteed to experience unforeseen event that will change our itinerary. Flexibility and patience are your best friends! Footage of the iconic Korakundah Estate in the Nilgiris, one the gardens we will visit. Video courtesy of Harney and Sons:
Meet Your Guides
Nigel has 37 years’ hands-on practical experience in the tea industry, as a field and factory trouble-shooter with Unilever, and since 1990 as owner of his tea consultancy company Teacraft, and his specialty tea e-commerce company Nothing But Tea.
Raj has been traveling throughout rural India for the last decade and organizing trips for the last two years. He's thrilled to offer others the chance to experience rural Indian life. In particular, road-side samosas with scorching hot, sickly sweet, deliciously gingery chai.
Ingrid joined Young Mountain Tea fresh off of several seasons of farming where she wanted to bridge the gap between grower and consumer. Taking that opportunity to tea, Ingrid loves bringing people to origin to experience firsthand the realities of agriculture. In addition, she revels in throwing herself into new cultures. Her specialties include snacks, sing-a-longs, and morning runs.
"Tasting fresh Darjeeling tea in India was magical. You can read about how tea is processed but there's nothing like seeing it first hand. We were able to pick tea in the fields and follow it through to production. Such an experience! It's nice to be able to share that first hand knowledge with your customers. In addition it makes you a more credible and a reliable source."
"What an amazing and enlightening experience. The team did a wonderful job planning our trip and giving us access to some of the best tea estates and tea minds in India. We were able to meet and interact with pluckers, factory managers and tea estate general managers to understand the different nuances of the production cycle directly from the production team. We really enjoyed grasping the different flavor profiles driven by the manufacturing process while getting an opportunity to listen to the history of the estate from highly experiences estate managers."
If you are interested in traveling with us, send us a quick message and we will respond as soon as we can!