Henry Montgomery Lennox, a British pioneer and tea lover, was exploring the Himalayan foothills in 1899, in what would later become the great state of West Bengal, when he came across a region where the steep green hills met the rolling clouds. The fog cleared for a moment and sunrays shone down on him, and he realized that this would be the perfect spot to do one thing: grow tea.
He bought about 225 hectares of land and planted the finest quality Chinese variety of tea (Camellia sinensis) and so the Goomtee Tea Estate was born. The Estate changed hands from Mr. Lennox to another British planter, Mr. G.W. O'Brien and after World War II to the Royal Rana family of Nepal before finally being acquired by Mr. Mahabir Prasad and the Kejriwal family in 1956. Today Goomtee Tea Estate is managed by Mr. Ashok Kumar, who ensures that the estate lives up to its rich, 118 year old, heritage.
HOW TO MAKE THE WORLD'S BEST TEA
The estate employs over 300 people, many of whom are third generation employees of Goomtee and are experts in the craft of picking and processing tea. The estate provides its employees free housing and schooling for the children, among many other benefits. The traditional knowledge of the happy workers is not the only reason for the balanced, aromatic flavor of the tea produced here; it is the geography of the place that plays the key role.
The estate stretches from altitudes of 3000 to 6000 ft, ideal for growing the best quality tea. The abundant rains, along with the steep slopes that provide adequate drainage, create the ideal environment for the tea shrubs to flourish. The game of hide and seek, that the sun plays with the clouds, results in slow growing shrubs which develop a full and fragrant flavor. The superior drying and production method, refined over a century, combined with the latest technology, helps the tealeaves to develop their flavor in the best possible way. The dedication to maintaining high quality ensures that the tea retains its flavor even when stored for a long time.
All this makes Goomtee tea, one of the finest in the world. It has a rich and distinctive flavor that cannot be replicated by tea grown anywhere else in the world. Maybe it has something to do with the spiritual nature of Darjeeling, which in Tibetan means "The Land of the Thunderbolt", referring to the thunderbolt of Lord Indra that is supposed to have fallen on Observatory Hill in Darjeeling.
Whatever the reason may be, there is no doubt that Darjeeling is famous for its tea and its natural beauty around the world. You can get a taste of both at the Goomtee Tea Estate.
GOOMTEE TEA RETREAT
The Goomtee Heritage Bungalow, constructed by the British over a 100 years ago, has hosted the estate owners and their families from the beginning, but now is also open to tourists looking for serenity, beauty and a better appreciation of what it takes to grow one of the finest teas in the world.
The Goomtee Tea Retreat is part of the estate, which is located near Kurseong. The picturesque Hill Cart Road from Siliguri to Darjeeling brings tourists and tea aficionados to the retreat.
The bungalow has been renovated multiple times over the years but still retains its original charm. It offers four luxurious bedrooms with magnificent views of the estate. Hiking through the tea gardens, interacting with smiling workers, watching them expertly pluck two leaves and a bud, will awaken anyone's appetite. Fortunately, the kitchen offers appetizing international vegetarian cuisine made from fresh local produce and, of course, the best tea in the world.
You can also learn the intricacies of tea tasting from professionals and take a tour of the factory to see how much hard work and attention to detail goes into producing such high quality tea. There is also a small library and reading room with an eclectic collection of books.
After relaxing for a few days in the serenity of the estate, you can always head out to Darjeeling to experience the hustle bustle of this delightful hill town. If you can't visit the estate in the near future, you can always buy their soul-satisfying tea from our website.