Makaibari, The Pearl of Darjeeling PDF Print E-mail

Makaibari is about more than just tea. It is a tiny universe unto itself. There are seven villages spread throughout the area, home to the plantation’s workers. The women harvest the tea leaves, while the men are put in charge of the processing and maintenance. What makes Makaibari stand out from the other tea estates is the quality of life it offers. Everyone you meet is smiling, glad of what they collectively own: a healthy environment, a school, an infirmary and a daycare centre. The houses are decorated with flowers and each family is given a cow, which provides milk to drink and manure to be used as fuel.

Moreover, individual initiatives are supported by the community. Backed by Mr. Rajah, who provided the building materials, a few families built small houses to accommodate tourists and cooperants. We took advantage of this eco-tourism approach, opting to live on the plantation. We were welcomed by a family and shared in their daily lives. Every morning, we would watch the tea pickers walk to the gardens, a basked tied to their foreheads and a broad smile on their lips.

Other families started a paper manufacturing business. They collect the bark from paper trees, boil it, pass the paste through a sieve and dry it, making a thick sheet of textured paper. Makaibari then buys the paper from the villagers, using it to package its tea.

In addition to creating a healthy environment, Makaibari has won awards of excellence for the quality of its teas. In the last several years, green tea has carved a well-deserved place for itself on the market thanks to its health-giving properties. As a result, great black teas like Darjeeling have fallen out of favour. However, black teas, with their delicate aroma, deserve to be enjoyed on a regular basis. As for curative properties, spring (first flush) teas are made with such young tea leaves that their antioxidant content is comparable to several green teas. Their flowery, subtle aroma is exceptional.

In wanting to offer you quality teas while supporting the healthy development of communities, Clef des Champs is proud to be able to count on a partner like Makaibari. Drink up!