Nuxalbari Tea Estate is located in Darjeeling District, India. This is at the foothills of the eastern Himalaya near the world’s third largest peak – Mount Kanchenjunga. This tremendous massif influences the area’s weather patterns and creates a lush environment for the tea to grow and flourish.
Nuxalbari dates back to 1884 through five generations. The estate values healthy soil so that the tea plants are strong and it propagates the best bi-clonal seeds and quality clones. Their hand picked, artisan tea comes from heritage plants that are over 100 years old, which contributes to its exceptional and fine taste. These heritage tea bushes are the largest that we have seen – as tall as your head and wide as your body. The result is that Nuxalbari teas are full-bodied, aromatic and flavorful.
Sonia Jabbar is the owner. She established an environmental curriculum for the children of her 1,000 employees called Hathi Sathi, or Elephant Friend. Sonia teaches the Hathi Sathi philosophy to her workers and their families. She believes that if the younger generation values a healthy lifestyle and environment for people and animals, then all can live healthier lives in the future. The program teaches the children about the natural environment and the value of learning to live with elephants and other wildlife.
Sonia and her staff are stewards of the land. They’ve transitioned much of the estate to organic. The process required to transition a farm to organic takes many years with steadfastness and patience. The tea plants need time to develop their natural resistance to pests without the application of pesticides. This transition period generally requires two years for the tea plants to develop a healthy immunity and can also be plucked for tea. Elephants and other animals stay and travel through the farm. Sonia’s vision is to reforest a 50 acre patch above a creek that flows through the estate to provide both food and forest cover for animals.
Nuxalbari is a ‘Green Corridor Champion’ that works with Wildlife Trust of India. This means they ensure the survival of wild Asian Elephants as they travel through Nuxalbari. Sonia was recognized by Prime Minister Modi for her environmental work on wildlife issues. Additionally, the estate offers a green model for other tea farms in the region. And it’s working with other conservation organizations to develop a research station at Nuxalbari for wildlife scientists doing research on Asian Elephants.
Nuxalbari strives to make a difference with wildlife and nature, their employees’ lives, and finding a better way to live a life. We think Nuxalbari is a more sustainable model for growing tea in India. To top it off, they involve men and women equally to make this happen. Lake Missoula Tea Company is excited to sell tea from Nuxalbari Tea Estate.