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OUR TEA STUDIO | Tea 'N' Teas

The Tea Studio

We’ve named this The Tea STUDIO because that is exactly how we planned it.  A unique artisanal facility in which we combine the delicacy of the finest hand plucked leaf with futuristic state of the art machinery, to craft a range of White, Green, Oolong and Black Teas.  Every single Tea coming out of the Studio is an individually recognizable and distinctive character.

 The raw material for these teas being 100% chemical free Green Leaf, the teas we offer may be deemed as being naturally Organic.

 The Studio operates on strict ethical principles.  Headed and very ably managed by Muskan, committed as we are to women empowerment, our tiny workforce are all educated women from the neighbouring village, each one of whom is treated like family.  Staunchly adhering to sustainable green practices, the Studio has pioneered the use of LPG. Unlike Tea factories anywhere else, we do not use any coal or firewood and are proudly 100% non-polluting.

 

The Tea Studio Building

The project itself being a revolutionary ‘out of the box’ idea, our target was that we find an architect who was adventurous and creative and not afraid of experimenting.  Our search ended with Aditya Menon, a young man straight out of architectural college who had not yet got into a rut was more than happy to be doing something different. With Aditya steering the project, brainstorming with like-minded tea experts from Taiwan, China, Japan, and Darjeeling and a little extra architectural advice from London, the culmination has been this ‘state of the art’ structure from which the Tea Studio operates.

The Leaf

Located as we are, bang smack in the middle of one of the most fertile tea growing areas in the world, the starting point to our range of distinctive teas, is 100% naturally organic and chemical free Green Leaf supplied to us by the many marginal tea growers who cultivate their small land holdings which surround the Tea Studio.  

Our unambiguous requirement being the finest hand plucked leaf, far superior to what is generally accepted as being ‘super-fine’, we pay a huge premium (10x and more) for our raw material.  Which, in our own way, is also our support to the local community.

The Machines

With their tea culture spanning almost 3,000 years, the Chinese are unquestionably the masters. In recent years the struggle to continue their ancient artisanal practices and yet meet the ever growing demand for their high quality artisanal teas, the masters have literally revolutionised the manual art form of ‘hand-made’ teas.  This has been done by very creatively mechanising the various processes which the leaf has to be put through till it attains its final character. The outcome has been a whole range of small, very specialized machines developed to mimic the manipulation, rolling, pressing and shaping of different styles of finished tea.

 

Sourced from the most specialised manufacturers in rural China, for the Tea Studio we have been very selective, equipping ourselves with 28 of these cutting edge Chinese machines.  Our array of machines yields 5 distinct styles of finished leaf.  The creativity of Muskan’s women workforce behind the machines, coupled with the proactive guidance of our team of experienced tea planters and tasters all add up to give us a very exciting playing field and point to an even more exciting future.

Powering the Studio

Being in the heart of the ecologically sensitive Nilgiri Bio-sphere, we took the difficult and as it turned out, rather expensive decision that we would do our bit for the environment by shunning the use of any polluting fossil fuels and that, instead, we would run the Studio only with electricity and low emission LPG.  The Tea Studio being the first tea factory in India to use this medium, our decision turned out to be a revolutionary idea which required quite a few out of the box solutions.

 

All the niggling issues (and there were many) leading up to the commissioning of this system had to be addressed one step at a time so that now visitors to the Studio would be delighted to see that the air around the building is clean and noticeably exhaust free.  All adding up to the fact that it has been a job well done. Not just the Studio but also the surrounding valley is a beautiful green, totally free and under no risk from any contaminants.

‘Ladypower’

Barring Muskan who relocated from a job in media and has landed feet first to take control of the reins in double quick time, the small workforce on the shop-floor is a group of women from the neighbouring village, who all literally grew up in tea:

Our tea maker and supervisor is Vaideghi Kannan,  33 years old and a high school graduate mother of two.  Her family have a couple of small tea holdings nearby and are one of the many suppliers of leaf to the Tea Studio.

Chithra, a 28 years old happy go lucky lady who is always flashing a toothy smile.  The mother of a 4 year old son, her family too have small tea holdings in the vicinity.  Her husband is employed as the night watchman for the Tea Studio.

21 year old Pavitra who recently completed her teachers training course but since she too lives in the village, decided that she’d rather work with us instead of seeking a job far away.

And completing the team is 22 year old Kalpana who is a graduate with a B.A. degree and lives with her parents, who like all the others, have a small tea holding close by.