Posted on

Tea-Topia in Darjeeling: A Fairtrade Fairytale

What is Darjeeling? :

Darjeeling is a distinctive delicate black tea. It is exclusive to it’s home which is why it’s sometimes refereed to as “The Dom Perignon of Teas”

Darjeeling lies in the Northern Hemisphere at a very high altitude in the foothills of the Himalayas, so the winter months are extremely cold. During this time, the tea bushes go dormant to conserve their energy. The first flush (“flush” refers to fresh growth),  in Spring is a concentration of all the flavour which has been stored by the tea bush during its winter dormancy. First flush Darjeelings tend to be fresh and light whereas second flush teas have more body and some will demonstrate the typical Darjeeling Muscatel character.

Darjeeling ambootia tea gardens South India
Darjeeling tea gardens at the foothills of the Himalayas

As it it is only picked twice a year, Darjeeling is very sought after.

Our second flush Darjeeling is sultry and sweet and is a lot lighter than a Breakfast or Earl Grey blend, so it can be drunk without milk.

According to @maxfalkowitz from, “discovering delicate, verdant first flush and sultry-sweet second flush Darjeelings is like learning about gin if you only knew about vodka and whiskey.”

Ambootia Tea:

Last week we were lucky enough to meet the producers of our Darjeeling tea: Ambootia Tea.

London Tea team and Ambootia
London Tea team and Ambootia

Just in time for Fairtrade fortnight, when we encourage people to talk openly about ways in which we should feed back into the communities that grow our tea.

The Ambootia tea estate is nestled in the misty Himalayas of Darjeeling, India. It had been around since the 1850’s but after time, a lot of the estates fell sick or were abandoned.

Some years later, Ambootia company came a long and revived the tea gardens which gave back life and livelihood to the surrounding communities. Within a short time of taking over the estate, the land flourished, so did the tea leaves and the hands that picked them. Since then Ambootia has been pioneering the good practice of growing high quality tea.

Ambootia Tea pickers Darjeeling
Ambootia Tea workers picking Darjeeling

Bio-Dynamic goodness

Ambootia encourages and sustains an environmentally friendly culture for their farms. They use natural fertilisers, renewable sources of energy such as hydro electricity and strive for a balanced eco-system which creates good friendly soil for the tea to grow.

Darjeeling tea leaves
Darjeeling tea leaves

Practices for peoples’ well-being: Beyond Fairtrade

The welfare of Ambootia workers is valued as much as the tea. The workers are provided with rent free housing, medical treatment, pension funds.  Free education and vocational training for the youth and support for young children is also among the work done to maintain a high standard of welfare among the workers.

Sports Activities in Ambootia (Fairtrade)
Sports Activities in Ambootia Tea Schools funded by Fairtrade

All money that Ambootia receive from Fairtrade is matched and put into these aspects of the tea community in Darjeeling.

To find out more about the Ambootia tea estates visit:


Fairtrade Fortnight: (29th February – 13th March)

As it is Fairtrade Fortnight we want everyone to realise the importance of trading fairly. Keep on top of the discussion with the hashtag #FairtradeFortnight or Instagram your favourite Fairtrade London Tea via @thelondonteacompany.  Most importantly, get involved by incorporating Fairtrade products into your shopping.

Our Darjeeling along with all of our products are all Fairtrade so you have a wide range to choose from!

Shop Darjeeling >

Shop Fairtrade teas >