It’s a really rough year for Darjeeling tea, known as “the champagne of teas.”
Priced in auctions have already been skyrocketing, and those prices will make their way over to the consumer as tea brands are forced to spend quite a bit more per kilogram, which adds up a lot. It’s a disappointing thing to hear for people who incorporate Darjeeling into their daily steep sessions, however the reasons for this shortage are much more upsetting than simply not having a cup of your favorite tea, believe it or not.
The Champagne of Tea
This summer’s harvest, or flush, is the most sought-after of the four times that Darjeeling tea is harvested each year (typically in between March and October).
This year, however, some of the most valuable tea is not going to be finding its way into anyone’s tea cups, due to civil unrest and strikes and violent, even sometimes deadly, protests taking place.
“The continuing troubles in and around Darjeeling are responsible for the loss of over half the region’s tea production this season, which has been the worst ever” said Kaushik Bhattacharya of the Darjeeling Tea and Management Association, as per the Telegraph.
The Real Victims of the Darjeeling Tea Shortage Aren’t Us
It’s a very difficult time for the region, so while it’s easy to be frustrated that we have to pay a little bit more for certain types of tea, we have to take a moment and send our best, in hopes that truth, honesty, love, and peace win. If workers need higher wager, we’re with them – we’ll gladly spend more for tea if it means that the people who are working hard to cultivate it are able to life a more comfortable life.
For a lot of people, the difference between paying $5 for a small bag of high-quality tea, or paying $7.50, isn’t going to be a make-or-break type of purchase, and I speak for many tea drinkers when I saw that we don’t mind paying more for ethical tea, quality teas produced in a safe and sustainable way.
To learn more about what’s going on in Darjeeling from journalists and people who are more qualified to report on it, here are a few resources: