Precious tea is picked only on the full moon night
INDIA Tea grows on high mountains, harvested only during a special ceremony when the moonlight is clearest and is sold for more than 1,800 USD per kilogram.
Located on the high slopes of the Himalayas, Makaibari was established in 1859 and is considered the oldest tea farm in Darjeeling city, India. According to BBC, Makaibari is the first organic agricultural tea farm in the world. It is famous for rare teas from the leaves and buds are picked on the moonlit nights. That is the Silver Tips Imperial, also known as the mysterious oolong tea.
Unlike other tea farms that rely on natural conditions like soil and seedlings, in Makaibari people choose to believe in the universe. They relied on planetary movements and ephemeris to determine the right time for tea leaf picking during the harvest season.
The farmers believed there was a mysterious connection between this tea and the stars in the sky, so they had to pick it right on the night of the full moon for the tea to reach its highest quality. During the first full moon nights from mid-March to May (the period known as the "first batch of tea"), when the tides in the oceans rise and the water level in the trees is low, farmers claim that High levels of oxygen and energy in the air will make tea leaves taste softer.
This type of tea is only picked 4-5 times during the season. Before harvest, hundreds of Makaibari workers in West Bengal outfits gathered on the slopes of the farm, just after sunset. Men knock on drums, women dance and chant the Vedic prayers for good luck and ask for the moonlight for protection. Viewers lit long torches to burn animal fat to illuminate tea-pickers and keep wildlife away.
After 8 pm, when the moonlight was at its brightest, about 80 to 100 skilled tea-pickers began walking up the mountainsides picking leaves and tea buds and quickly putting them in a large basket behind them.
People also believe that if the sun shines on the leaves, the flavor of tea will be changed, so they have to harvest quickly in the night to be ready for processing before it is morning. Due to the limited harvest, Silver Tips Imperial is very expensive, it is necessary to harvest 200 kg of fresh tea to process 50 kg of finished tea.
According to the farm manager, Mr. Sanjay Das, half-fermented tea will bring the taste of mango and wild flowers, which have anti-aging effects. As soon as he took a sip of the bright yellow tea, the drinker felt energized.
Makaibari Farm is a favorite destination for visitors. According to Lonely Planet, visitors can visit the factory for 50 rupees (about 15,000 VND) or take a one-day tour of activities including factory visits, plantations walks, tea picking, meals at local people's houses. and tea for 800 rupees (more than 250,000).
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