Darjeelings Second Flush and the Future of Darjeeling Tea in Jeopardy (WorldofTea.org)

At The Tea Smith, we try to source the best teas available in the market. But we do not do that in a vacuum. We look further into the sources and the gardens to the best we are able so we purchase our teas from gardens that employee best practices treat their workers fairly and work for the common good of the workers as well as the long term prospect of the tea industry there.Darjeelings Tea

We will keep you abreast of developments there, both as it impacts our teas and the future of tea in Darjeeling. Here’s what’s happening:

Ghorkas, Nepali-speaking ethnic group, are the majority of the population in the Darjeeling Hills and have once again instituted a general strike in their quest for a separate Indian State they would call Gorkhaland. The strike is their way to get the government to hear their pleas. Ghorkas provide the bulk of the workforce when it comes to tea growing, plucking, and processing which has caused complete shutdown of the Darjeeling tea industry right at the peak of the second flush harvest.

One of the Gorkhas motivating factors is that the Ghorkas have felt and continue to feel like second class citizens. A Ghorkas working environment is often poor and wages low. Ghorkas often have no say in how the estates are run and not a single Ghorka owns a Darjeeling Estate even though their people are instrumental in the production and success of the Darjeeling tea industry. Ghorkas feel that the government does not provide care for the region and the area lacks basic infrastructure and resources.

“Darjeeling’s tea industry has suffered a direct loss of more than $18 million already due to the current unrest” Kaushik Basu, Secretary General of Darjeeling Tea Association. If the strike continues Basu estimates that the revenue loss could reach $55 million.

The Darjeeling Hills have been a point of political control and conflict since the 1780’s and the Ghorkas have sought independence many times throughout history. Once the British began their expansion through India many conflicts and wars over this area persisted. One of the most significant conflicts was in 1986 when the protests for an independent state turned extremely violent and over 1200 lost their lives. The unrest was finally resolved by the establishment of a special Ghorka council in the region. However, the council had very little ruling power and thus several protests and conflicts have erupted since.

How will this impact the Darjeeling tea industry? Short term certainly all Darjeeling estates will lose out on revenue and the Darjeeling summer teas will lose market share. Brands will avoid introducing Darjeelings because of the lack of certainty of their availability and thus will move to other regions for their needs. Long term outlook at this time is bleak. Due to the limited land available to grow Darjeeling and then the lack of workforce to produce the tea the business proposition is not good. The political unrest in the area needs to stabilize and show signs of continued harmony before the Darjeeling Estates appear to be a good business idea.

Teas from the Darjeeling region of India have long been a favorite of customers and staff at The Tea Smith. Each season, we fly in samples to evaluate for purchase. When we cup them, our staff lines up to be included in the process.

However, as the article clearly shows, the traditional infrastructure in the area no longer works. The gardens are in beautiful, though remote, areas. The work is hard and as young people have an opportunity for growth and education, they choose not to stay involved. The unresolved conflict between racial and social groups continues to challenge the general commerce, especially the production and sale of tea, and the basic rights of those involved.

Spring Teas have Sprung

Tea Smith Tea and white cup

With the arrival of spring and its ever-warming weather, there are a plethora of bright, floral and herbal teas to match what’s happening outside. Spring teas are among the most beautiful, colorful, and delightful flavors available at any time of year. And for tea-lovers, the start of spring is pure enjoyment!

In Japan, the season of spring is marked by the aromatic, pink blossoms of cherry trees. The sense of renewal is captured in our Cherry Blossom Green Tea, marked with dried cherry bits. http://www.theteasmith.com/product/Cherry-Blossom-Green-Tea.html

Spring is most arguably the high season for Chinese tea. Some of the nation’s best and most sought-after teas originate in spring, when the first buds on tea plants are harvested after the winter.

Jasmine Pearl is comprised of Fine Pouchong leaves, scented with jasmine blooms, then rolled into pearls that unfurl in your cup. These slender green leaves produce their entrancing aroma for three, four, five infusions. http://www.theteasmith.com/product/Finest-Jasmine-Pearls-Green-Tea.html

Black tea is widely known for its wealth of benefits, from increasing energy to boosting immunity. Simply Strawberry Black Tea has a subtle aroma and flavor when hot, but a slightly stronger aroma and sweet flavor once it has cooled making it a treat that can be enjoyed all year long! http://www.theteasmith.com/product/Simply-Strawberry-Black-Tea.html

Perfect for a sunny spring day is The Tea Smith’s Orange Blosson Rooibos tea. This is a light, orange-scented tea with curls of orange zest. When infused, the rind imparts a splash of citrus that comes together with the crispness of rooibos. http://www.theteasmith.com/product/Orange-Blossom-Rooibos-Tea.html

If you’re looking for something soothing after a long day, the natural oils in Lavender White Tea promote relaxation even before you take that first sip. White teas are enjoyed for their floral notes. Add natural lavender flowers and you have a tea that is uplifting and at the same time relaxing. http://www.theteasmith.com/product/Lavender-Spring-White-Tea.html

The short time between spring and summer brings about the new first flush Darjeelings from India. First flushes are regarded as the “champagne of tea.” Stay tuned! We will be announcing the arrival of our 2017 Darjeeling- 1st Flush- soon!

The Tea Smith partners with Alice’s Embrace to Make Lap Blanket/Prayer Shawls for Area Memory Care Centers!

The Tea Smith partners with Alice’s Embrace to Make Lap Blanket/Prayer Shawls for Area Memory Care Centers! 

Organizational Meeting to get everyone started! The Tea Smith (78th and Dodge store) on September 10th from 1:00-2:00 pm or September 14th from 7:00- 8:00 pm

The Tea Smith (78th and Dodge store) has partnered with Alice’s Embrace to bring love and caring to the elderly in our community. We will be making lap blankets and prayer shawls for folks in Memory Care Units in the Omaha area. This will be an ongoing project so you can join at any time.

What do you need to participate? A knowledge of casting on, knit, purl and binding off for knitters and crochet crafters need knowledge of chain, single, double and half double stitches. Each pattern has specific requirements for needles or hooks. We will only accept 100% Acrylic Yarn since the garments need to be washed and dried by machine. You do need to supply your own single color yarn to make the designs stand out and “pop” for the residents. Please check all sales at our craft stores in the area or on-line. You can easily get the required yarn on sale for approx. $12-15.

Won’t you please join our cause, meet new friends and relax with your favorite beverage all in one place –The Tea Smith, of course!!!

Omaha Health Expo

The Tea Smith will be at the 9th Annual Omaha Health, Wellness, & Fitness Expo that runs from April 9th – 10th at the Baxter Arena Omaha.  Join us at the area’s largest health event where experts from many industries will have invaluable information on ways we can all improve our lives and live longer and happier!   

In addition to all of the great vendors that will be there, The Tea Smith will have a booth because, as you well know, tea can be a healthy part of a natural lifestyle.  There are so many health benefits of tea; it is so much more than a bag of brown leaves and this event gives people the chance to taste, sample teas.

Most people find surprising that tea is very healthy!  Tea is low in calories but is chock full of nutrition.  Many types of teas have vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, and K as well as carotene and folic acid.  Very healthy indeed! 

Think coffee and sodas are the only way to get your caffeine boost?  Not so!  Tea is a healthy, better alternative (in our humble opinion) over sugary pops or that morning cup of Joe!  While the general rule is the tea has half the caffeine of tea, coffee and sodas are created to hit the body hard and fast. Tea, however, is slower in the release of caffeine which means that pick-me-up lasts longer.  So…I guess we can say that tea is both calming and energizing at the same time.  Also interesting is that the amino acids found in tea helps the brain focus and you do not have to add sugar or additional sweeteners to naturally flavored tea.  Now that’s a win-win for a healthy beverage.

Tea is healthy! That is why we are so excited about participating at the Omaha Health, Wellness, & Fitness Expo in April.  Stop by and visit, we would love to talk tea with you.  We will have several tea flavors to sample that we are sure visitors will find pleasant to drink.  We will have tea to sell as well as accessories and everything that a new tea drinker needs to get started. For more information visit:


Tea and your Teeth

For daily tea drinkers, here’s a factoid that will brighten your day and possibly your smile: teas contain trace amounts of fluoride that can help prevent tooth decay. That’s right, drinking green teas, black teas and oolong teas can help promote oral health.

You might be thinking that fluoridated water used to brew tea should be getting all the credit, but that’s not the case! Fluoride is naturally stored in the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant, which are later harvested to make tea. Older tea leaves have more fluoride than newer leaves. White teas are made from the newest leaves of the camellia sinensis plant and therefore contain the least amount of fluoride.

Of course, many people are aware of the dangers of ingesting too much fluoride, including a heightened risk for osteoporosis. So does that mean you should be worried about the fluoride content in your tea? Not at all!

Even if you drank a whole liter of green tea in one day, the amount of fluoride would be well below the recommended levels for safe consumption. The amount of fluoride found in your average tea will contain just about the recommended dose for fighting off cavities and ensuring that teeth stay strong and healthy. So kick back, relax with your favorite cup and enjoy the added benefit of healthier teeth!