I was so lucky to spent 4 days at the Kanoka Village Resort situated in Hugrajuli Gaon Assam. This is the accomodation and resort style section joined to the Organic Tea farm Assamica Argo.
I was so excited about staying here because is this is where we source our Organic Assam Tea.
And I also use it for the Signature Blend for Botanista for there Breakfast Tea.
From their organic biodynamic Tea farm. To your cup.
But More about that later.
It started with a near 4 hour AC Bus drive from the Assam Capital Guwahati. The time flew past quick. So much to see, cows, goats, colourfully dressed people, bikes, dogs and very large over the top decorative transport buses, which for some reason I just love. The bus driver got there in record time I’m sure, as he sped down the highway and blew his horn seemingly every two seconds.
This is India. And I adore it.
I was picked up at Sirajuli, the main town near the Organic Tea farm. I was welcomed by the farms manager and also the marketing manger Bhashkar. The three of us zipped down the road, dodging more cows, goats, people, cars and bikes. Fun.
Bhaskar is from the marketing department of Assamica Argo. He was my guide during my stay. He made me feel very welcomed and was a great wealth of knowledge.
When I arrived I was welcomed by the lovely Carisma, who with her bright beautiful smile placed a red and white traditional scarf around my neck. Something I will treasure.I was so happy.
I had been waiting for that moment for a long time.
A traditional Scarf or Gamcha presented to me when I arrived at Kanoka
The lovely Carisma. She works in the reception area and always welcomed me with a huge smile and a warm hello
For my accomodation I stayed in one of the earth walled huts surrounded by a lush tropical garden sprawling with herbs of Tusli, lemongrass, rose, hibiscus flowers and banana trees.
All this over looking the organic Tea fields.
A herbalists and tea lovers delight!
The huts consisted of a wall fan, your own toilet and shower and a cute little outside sitting area to enjoy the view. Simple and perfectly enjoyable for my stay.
Ok the food.
The Assamese meals are all cooked in the traditional kitchen over open hot fires. Quite the site and very impressive!
And it was delish!
Some of the great staff who looked after me so well. Always with a wave and big hello. I miss them already
I was spoilt daily with a selection of different veg dishes. Eating lunch in the big hall as it is called was quite the experience. Sitting along side newly planted tea bushes you were individually served out of huge metal pots onto banana trunk plates with the rice parceled in banana leaves.
And all organic and grown on their own farm.
And all plastic free.
What a great inspiration to businesses world wide. Not a take away cup in site.
( take time to pause here and think of your your personal daily habits. Are they sustainable?)
I was here during the festival time of Durga Puja the place was packed with people. The staff were amazing working so hard to keep up with the endless flow of people. I enjoyed just sitting back and watching the going ons during lunch in the big hall.
Rice is tied up in the farms banana leaves along with different veg options served in cute little copper bowls. Most days for me it was all served on this beautiful copper plate ( can I take this home please!) Water always served and eagerly topped up by the lovely staff.
There were a few different things to do in the Tea Village. People where enjoying splashing in the pool, paddling in the boats in the man made pond and of course lots of selfie action amongst the beautiful tropical gardens.
I took myself down to the river, through the organic rice seed and rubber crops, early each morning to go for lovely long walks. I had to jump over a small stream, getting completely soaked initially but all part of the fun ( my boots are still drying!) But I mastered that crossing by the end of my stay!
I enjoyed the peace and solitude and the sounds from the rapidly flowing wide river.
There were little nooks around the grounds which you could sit and enjoy. This was my favourite. Right down the very back, next to the large pond full of talkative local ducks. It was a great place to get some respite from the heat and get some work done while drinking chai. And it had a fan!
Ok. Ok. but what about the Tea.
The actual Tea farm is under the business Assmica Argo.
It is all Organic. And it is also biodynamic in principle.
The tea is all hand picked by experienced tea workers.
Yes hand picked!
Bhaskar eagerly explains and shows me how only the very top of the leaf is picked. He explains in order to get the the best tea the picked leaf is about the size of your finger. The big hand sized leaves are left on the tea bush.
All very important in order to get the best quality control.
Leaves being picked by hand from the Tea bush Camillia sinensis assamica.
One of the farms tea pickers. Isn’t she adorable. And what an amazing skill she has. Picking only the best leaves from the tea bush. Once picked she places the tea into the weaved basket to carry
Bhaskar showing me how the tea is plucked and which leaves are taken from the tea bush. He was a wealth of knowledge. Fascinating stuff.
Once the tea is picked it is then taken to the processing factory which is situated right in the middle of the tea fields.
It is a small earthen building with large hand made drying racks where the tea is placed and allowed to dry and wither.
The tea is then rolled by hand.
And this is where I was quite amazed. The aroma coming from the tea was strong, fresh and floral. I really wasn’t expecting for there to be such a wonderful floral aroma.
It was quite exquisite.
The freshly picked tea leaves are left to wither on the hand made drying racks
All the organic tea is rolled by hand. This process brings out the beautiful aroma of the tea leaves.
The tea is then placed into the dryers to be processed.
Once the tea is ready it is hand packed or hand blended into one of their wonderful tea blends such as their masala chai or maybe their green tea with chamomile.
Out the front of the processing shed alongside the great workers
I had such a great time and really value the opportunities that the staff from Kanoka and ASSAMICA Argo gave me to learn more about the fascinating world of tea.
But my tea adventures didnt stop there.
I was lucky enough to be given a tour of some local tea estates. Unfortunately due to the Puja festival the tea factories where closed, but I was lucky enough to meet the Manager and the Owner at the first estate we visited the Hoorijuli Tea Estate. The owner happily showed me around and the size of the drying racks and huge big fans was extraordinary!
The tea is picked then placed onto these huge drying racks. The fans are only used in the cooler months or as the weather permits.
Then it was off to the Sapoi Tea Estate. A huge big tea plantation. We were welcomed into the main residence with a beautiful regal home, the most amazing gardens and their very own temple! I was lucky enough to meet the grand owner a gorgeous Indian Women, who wished me well.
The lovely Gardens of Sapoi Tea Estate. The temple is the building behind me and the residence is off to the right.
The Tea adventure couldn’t end before I mention that we stopped in one of the local villages and had the most wonderful Chai and the most delicious sweet literally dripping with sugar syrup. Oh please take me back!
The local tea shop and female Chai Walli.
I really couldn’t finish this whole wonderful experience with out mentioning the huge generosity of the local village. I was asked if I would like to attend the local festival. Yes! I honestly thought I would just stand at the back and watch. But instead I was introduced over the loud speaker, all the celebrations stopped and I was gifted a large plate of fruits and vegetables and given blessings from the local female elder. All while the whole village watched on and clapped! I was quite over whelmed and a tad embarrassed but certainly humbled by their amazing generosity. Welcoming me, a business owner from a small tea company from Port Elliot in South Australia. Who would have thought.
The Durga Puja Festival Celebrations. What an experience and what beautiful people
So my time at Kanoka really was the most amazing experience. The people, the village, the tea gardens was all that I hoped for. I ventured half way across the world to learn more about our tea. And I am whole heartily so happy that I did.
Visiting here has made me love my Tea business even more. And even more passionate about what I do.
Thankyou to everyone at Kanoka.
I will be back.