Tea Tales From Tea Factory
When I received the itinerary for the Palampur visit one thing that immediately caught my attention was “A guided tour to the Palampur tea factory”. I was jumping with joy when I got to know that I will get to see how tea is made and also get to taste different varieties of tea post the visit. Our host Himachal Heritage Village did an excellent job in making a detailed itinerary for the trip. I am a tea person. Though I am a conventional ginger tea lover but I love to try all the new varieties as well. So when I heard about the tea inclusion in the trip I grabbed the opportunity with both my hands. To make tea is not everyone’s cup of tea, I understood it really well after this short visit to the tea factory.
The first day in Palampur was spent roaming in and around Bir. The tea factory visit was kept for the second day. We drove through lush green scenery and pine forest and reached the tea factory on time. We were then introduced to Mr. Rajiv Sood, the owner and proprietor of the tea estate. He is a passionate tea maker and the fervor with which he talked about tea spoke volumes about his love for growing and making tea. After a quick round of His and Hellos we made our way to the tea factory.
Also Read: When I Did Paragliding In Bir !
Something which might surprise you all is that Mr. Rajiv Sood is the youngest tea board member in India. Another fact which will surprise you even more is that he left his lucrative and sorted life in Singapore to pursue his passion for tea. Who does that these days, very few people and Mr. Sood certainly belongs to that lot. My respect for him had already grown manyfold and awed by his persona we all followed him to the first stop of the factory. He walked us through every step of the tea processing and explained us all the intricacies involved in it. He also explained how the latest machinery and skilled labor play an important role in the whole process. Tea making and processing is a 24×7 running process and hence it requires equal attention all the time, one wrong blink of the eye and everything goes for a toss.
Mr. Rajiv took us around the factories and there we got to know that they specialize in making the best green tea of that region. They have also experimented and created other varieties of green tea. Smoke tea is something which got me hooked. Right from the section which involved green tea leaves till the packaging stage we saw it all. The packaged tea is finally sold under the brand name of Himalayan Brew. One can easily find it in various retail stores all over Himachal Pradesh. It is also available online, mainly on amazon. When we asked why aren’t they marketing their product themselves, Mr Rajiv Sood told us that it will divert them from their basics which is production. He was more focused on maintaining his monopoly as the tea maker than venturing in the marketing arena. He didn’t rule out the marketing possibility all together, “may be in future” he said but the current focus is totally on the production.
After we were done with the factory visit we were out to witness lush green beauty of the tea estate. It was symmetrical green all around. We pranced around the tea gardens and clicked a lot of pictures. Since it was Sunday and just a handful of staff was working Mr. Sood requested few ladies to pose for us in the tea gardens. They all enjoyed their paparazzi moments and we got some good shots.
After being content with the photographs of the tea gardens we returned to the tea factory. We were then served steaming cup of green tea. Sipping tea right in the middle of the tea garden had its own fun. How can I come back empty handed from a tea factory and thus I ended up buying many varieties of green tea.
Not much has changed after that visit but every time I take a sip of any tea I know how much hard work has gone into its making.