Author Archives: Dan Bolton

3 Darjeeling Tea Gardens Reopen

DARJEELING, West Bengal Three of the 87 gardens idled by a strike and street protests since June 18 reopened Monday. The strike involves 85,000 tea workers. At Goodricke Group’s Springside Tea Estate 70 of the 250 employed at the garden reported for work. Several local schools also opened. Some stores in downtown Darjeeling were...

Assam Grants Smallholders Land Rights for First Time

Tea small holders in Assam will for the first time be granted land rights. Addressing a meeting of the All Assam Small Tea Growers’ Association (ASTGA) Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal announced on Sept. 11 that 78,286 growers will be awarded land deeds known as “pattas.” The decision will increase productivity and help improve...

Kazakstan Among Top Tea Importers

ASTANA, Kazakhstan Kazakhs are among the world’s top 10 tea drinking peoples but grow very little of their own, preferring India’s Assam and black teas from Kenya and Sri Lanka and brick tea from China. Neighboring Russia and surrounding Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are the world’s largest importers of tea but economic decline...

Teance Founder Winnie Yu Remembered

BERKELEY, Calif. Tea educator and entrepreneur Winnie Yu, who was an influential specialty tea retailer and one of the first direct-from-garden wholesalers died Sept. 11 from complications brought by stomach cancer. She was 47. Her brother Fred Yu of New York confirmed the news which spread quickly over the social media network Facebook. Her...

The Last of the 2017 Darjeeling Crop is Auctioned

The last lots of Darjeeling were auctioned last week as hopes of settling a three-month strike dimmed. It was the first time in 40 years that the special auction in Calcutta had no Darjeeling to offer. This year’s harvest, which seemed promising following the early spring flush, plummeted by 89% in June with no...

Monsoon Floods Douse Tea Production

Tea-growing regions in Assam, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh are suffering staggering losses due to flooding that has killed at least 1,200 people among the 16 million displaced in Southeast Asia. Two weeks of incessant rainfall has turned the Brahmaputra River basin into a quagmire with millions of tea bushes underwater. As of Aug. 30,...

Darjeeling Strike Continues as Gorkha Split Over Decision to End Confrontation

DARJEELING, West Bengal An agreement to temporarily suspend an indefinite shutdown during talks with West Bengal’s government has split leaders of the Gorkha movement who say they are determined to achieve statehood and will discuss nothing short of that goal. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee last week welcomed Gorkha coalition leader Binay Tamang’s decision to...

Mall Owner Sues Starbucks to Prevent Teavana Closures

Shopping malls thrive only when they are buzzing like a hive. Mall operators rely on the fact that customers attracted to diverse offerings linger, looking for the joy of discovery. Shuttering 379 Teavana locations, many in malls already experiencing reduced foot traffic, could trigger other retailers to exercise their co-tenancy rights, claiming that mall...

Sri Lanka is Primed to Supply Premium Iced Tea

A client list of more than 500 hotels and resorts was the prize in 2011 when Sri Lanka-based Maskeliya Tea Exports purchased Seattle’s Barnes & Watson Fine Teas. Owner Ken Rudee, then chairman of the Specialty Tea Institute, had carefully cultivated restaurant and resort clientele who were unusually discerning about the quality of their...