P & T Presents: Kali-Ma Reserve N°916 [Tea Knowledge]

Darjeelings are not without reason one of the most loved teas worldwide. Where else do you find these perfect conditions of clean Himalayan air, altitude and old soil filled with endless nutrients? Above that, the extreme environment puts the tea plant into cold winters, forcing them to hibernate and collect their strength, as well as hot summers in which they can live out their full potential. But on the foothills of the Himalayas grows one Darjeeling that goes beyond the usual excellence. The exceptional and ultra-limited first-flush KALI-MA RESERVE N°916 is not only special in taste, but in its production, origin and history. Let us properly introduce you to one of the most unique Darjeelings you will ever encounter.

KALI-MA RESERVE N°916 is produced on the infamous Makaibari Estate, where the very first tea factory in Darjeeling was built. It was also the first organic tea plantation in the region, but it went even further. Most people have heard of and now understand the concept behind organic farming, but have you come across biodynamic farming?

Whereas other forms of sustainable agriculture are primarily concerned with producing food sustainably and without chemical compounds, biodynamic farming aspires to be transformative and seeks to maximize health and vitality through an ongoing dialogue with Nature. Developed by the Austrian philosopher and scientist, Rudolf Steiner, the bio-dynamic revolution embraces biodiversity and building self-sustaining habitats where any kind of human activity goes hand in hand with what the wild environment would do on its own. Parts of the theory sound spiritual, but there is hard scientific proof showing that biodynamic farms are far more resilient than more common forms of agriculture. So what does this look like practice: Of the roughly 700 hectares on Makaibari Tea Estate, only 250 are used to grow tea. The remaining two thirds of land are wild forest, in which local vegetation and wildlife flourishes freely. If you stand in between the tea trees on this estate, you hear a symphony of insects swarming the skies. There are bengal tigers roaming the wilder parts. Different plants grown in between the tea plants, supporting each other with nutrients. The balance between farmed plants and wildlife enables the plantation to be more than sustainable. And you can taste that in every cup of KALI-MA RESERVE N°916. Like every first flush KALI-MA RESERVE N°916 is full bodied in taste, with a brisk Himalayan character. Its bright cup is rich of muscatel and sweet grape notes, paired with eucalyptus freshness. It’s delicate yet rich and doesn’t go unnoticed, like a white tea with the intensity of a black tea. The name of this tea is mirroring how its tea plantation lives in balance with mother nature. Kali comes from the Indian goddess, and Ma means mother. There is a legend that the goddess blessed the Makaibari Tea Estate. A local contractor tells the story of meeting her in a dream, in which she told him to build a temple for her. When he looked for the place she showed him in his dream, he found a grand tree on Makaibari Tea Estate, with roots spanning over ten meters. In between its roots, like a miracle, grew two tea plants, shaded from the sun and unable to reach water by themselves. How were they able to not only survive but flourish? It was seen as a miracle, a reincarnation of the goddess herself, and a temple was built surrounding the magical tree. Still today people are going on a pilgrimage to see the sacred tea plants on Makaibari Tea Estate. Taste all of this excellence everytime you infuse KALI-MA RESERVE N°916.

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