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Virtual Tea Estate Tours

Get virtually up close and personal with tea (stock image)
Get virtually up close and personal with tea (stock image)

I’ve noticed something over the course of the years that I’ve been writing about tea. Actually I’ve noticed quite a few things but the one most pertinent to this discussion is that while there are a zillion and a half tea merchant sites, tea blogs and whatever other Internet stuff related to tea, there don’t seem to be as many tea estates that have a web presence.

Or perhaps I just haven’t looked that hard. So after running across one such site not long ago I looked to see what else is out there. That site, by the way, is for Gopaldhara Tea, which operates the Gopaldhara and Rohini gardens, both located in the Darjeeling region of India, a region generally known more for the quality of their tea than the quantity.

Assam is another one of India’s tea-growing regions and is arguably one where quantity does sometimes take precedence over quality. But as an avid Assam fan I’ll be the first to point that this is not always the case and besides, I’m digressing a bit. Even as an Assam lover I’ll be the first to admit that there are not that many estates that I know by name. One of the exceptions is Mokalbari Kanoi Tea Estate, who bill themselves as producers of “premium 2nd flush Assam tea since 1917.”

I’ve never heard of Kolony Tea, who also call Assam their home, but you can take a look at their site here. If you know anything about Indian tea you might know of Nilgiri, the third and least well-known of the growing regions there. If you’re up for a virtual visit to a Nilgiri garden, you might try Glendale Estate, who claim to be renowned “for offering a range of SINGLE GARDEN PURE PREMIUM TEA of PLATINUM quality.”

Not far off the southeastern coast of India is Sri Lanka, where tea has been produced under the country’s former name of Ceylon since the late nineteenth century. Like India, Sri Lanka seems to be opening up to real tea tourism (as opposed to the virtual sort practiced here). For a good example look at Ceylon Tea Trails, a resort built on the grounds of a former tea estate. For an example of an active Ceylonese estate try Talawakelle Tea Estates, which owns and operates a total of seventeen tea gardens throughout the country.

The obvious problem with finding web sites for tea gardens in China, the world’s largest producer of tea, is that even those gardens who do decide to create a web presence for themselves might not be willing to make one that’s intelligible to English speakers. I’m sure there are plenty that do, however, including this site for 101 Tea Plantation, which operates tea gardens in China, Taiwan and Thailand.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

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