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A HOMEGROWN PROJECT FROM NORTHEAST INDIA

Folklore Tea

Based in Assam, Folklore comprises of the natives and locals of the region and the surrounding areas, who have been a part of the changing seasons in the tea gardens from when the upsurge of marginalized tea growers begun; or ones who have recently set on the path of natural tea production. The movement of small natural tea growers has now begun to gain momentum with the addition of more growers as they attempt to revive the diminishing glory of the high-quality tea produced in this region. Folklore doesn't portray its teas to be the finest from the best tea plantations- it comes from the decent gardens of the small growers - old and new entrants who have been experimenting with new methods and ways of processing teas naturally. This lot of growers had the liberty of choosing ways that gave them better returns, but they preferred short term losses for a better future. This ever-growing cluster of small organic tea growers need a few hands to acknowledge and appreciate its efforts and tell them that what they are doing is not easy.

Folklore entails a major responsibility of creating awareness about tea from this region and it can’t be achieved only through writing and talking about it. Folklore is and shall be continuously aiming to develop and strike dialogues that covers a variety of landscapes in the tea gardens of North East India. It shall host and be a part of an ongoing series of exhibitions and performances that offers narratives of unique communities within the tea growing region, characteristics and histories both ethnic and cultural, create spaces and scenarios where people will have a role in telling the story of their involvements in this dynamic subject –Tea.

 

 

Being local to the region is a boon in itself: we know the people, we speak in the local dialect and we know our home-brew. A lot of things have already been said and done that ascertains the existing economic and socio-economic conditions in this rural part of India which has made India richer. We won’t reiterate the same, rather act at our capacities and abilities to make the slightest change. We are an atom in the world tea gamut; and though we may not be able to make any significant changes in the holistic economic aspects surrounding tea, we are content and take solace in the fact that we are contributing at least in a minuscule way in bringing a tiny part of that economy to the real and local people - the unsung heroes. By buying from a local, you will be helping us sustain ourselves and the families associated with us.

Being local to the region is a boon in itself: we know the people, we speak in the local dialect and we know our home-brew. A lot of things have already been said and done that ascertains the existing economic and socio-economic conditions in this rural part of India which has made India richer. We won’t reiterate the same, rather act at our capacities and abilities to make the slightest change. We are an atom in the world tea gamut; and though we may not be able to make any significant changes in the holistic economic aspects surrounding tea, we are content and take solace in the fact that we are contributing at least in a minuscule way in bringing a tiny part of that economy to the real and local people - the unsung heroes. By buying from a local, you will be helping us sustain ourselves and the families associated with us.

Our folks

All of the Folklore family, may it be the growers and their families, the local people and the Folklore staff are all born and brought up in this region; the lush garden trails and the people know each other better than anyone else.

The team of tea workers is the pride of Folklore Teas. Our sincere tea workers are responsible to pluck the finest and tender tea leaves from our gardens, which is the deciding factor of the grades of our teas. A smaller garden size means our workers are very limited, asserting a stronger relation brewing between the workers and us, to an extent that we have a rapport with them and know their families personally.

Teas from the source

All our teas are sourced directly from the tea grower’s garden. As mentioned earlier, we are inbred in this land and things slightly turn favorable in this case. We do not work with handlers or brokers. A tea that has travelled places and switched hands lacks trustworthiness and genuineness and by the time it reaches the consumer it is depleted of freshness and is of compromised quality. You have all reasons to question the sourcing of the tea you are drinking and rightly so, you’ll be paying for it. If you happen to come across our social media posts, you’ll have an idea about our presence in the place and even if you happen to cross by our place, you can drop by and say hi!

The nearest tea garden is 2.5 hours away from our unit. After the tea is processed at the farmer’s unit which is again right next to their homes, lowest plucking to processing time, it is dispatched to our unit where we re-pack them for making to make it spill-free and moisture-proof. It means the brew in your cup will be as fresh and flavor intact as it was when picked. We do not use any machine either for blending or for packaging our classic and flavored teas, making sure our customers receive only unbroken tealeaves.

Organic farming is not a certificate the growers achieve, it’s something they have always been doing.

All our teas are naturally organic. Out of concerns surrounding organic certification we have not classified our teas as organically certified. Due to financial limitations, few of our growers cannot afford the expenses of the organic certification process. No doubt a certificate is a legal validation an, but the growers are far beyond it. They are the workers who are trying hard to preserve ancient processing traditions and putting their heart and soul into the teas they make are naturally the same people who care deeply about their environment.

Limited-batch production

Owing to its nature of production and scale of operation, there is no sizeable stock of inventory at the grower’s disposal. Being a small plantation, the process of plucking the tea leaves to its final processing happens daily. Each grower is unique at their levels of tea crafting and so are the resources at their disposal, which vary from grower to grower; may it be the size of their garden, the manpower, the size of the unit among all others. Still, at an average, for a small tea grower, a full day of labour would yield about 6-7 kilos of unprocessed tea which means 3-4 kilos of the finished product. Furthermore, tons of tea can never be a parameter of quality tea.

Talk to the growers

We reinstate the importance of a connection between the growers and the drinkers of their tea, wherein one can talk directly to the grower and tell them how their efforts made them feel.

If you have liked any of our classic category teas and are interested in talking to your grower, please drop us a message. As some of our growers are not technologically equipped, you can drop a mail with your message and we shall post it to the respective grower. For other growers, we can schedule an interaction once towards the end of the month. This exercise will be done to appreciate the hard work of the growers. This will not be a business platform.

Transparency and the tea drinker

A responsible and sensitized global citizen who is concerned about issues, both socio-economic and cultural, in the global periphery should also know the people who have been a part of their lives unknowingly for years or maybe as old as tea has been in their lives. Behind it all, there are real people – small tea growers whose innovation improves the craft and whose land stewardship protects the environment and the quality of your tea. This lot of growers and also others could have chosen a way better than this which yields faster returns, they chose not to have that luxury and we want to appreciate them individually. It is the awareness of their passion that makes their tea taste better.

 

For the “chai” lovers, tea is an all-inclusive beverage but the properties of the actual leaf and the leaf itself have remained exclusive in the society we live in. It has been exclusive because of the restricted knowledge and our quest to attain any sort of information about it. Every tea drinker shouldn’t only be called a tea lover – they should be known as an educated tea drinker. Instead of reaching out and telling why one should have our tea, we harp on the importance of knowing about it which, we believe, will preserve this age-old tradition and culture of brewing and drinking tea.

 

A perplexed tea drinker might have a few questions about the tea they are consuming. They should be able to receive an answer and that can be translated only by making the whole thing visible. To create value, we want to share the value.