Latumoni – Story about a stubborn idealistic tea maker

A few times already and now again, we bought the excellent tea from a small farming community in Assam. Despite the rigid habits in the tea business in India, they have started and sustained their own small production. The teas are great and the idea as well. And we support it!

Tea picking

Latumoni Tea Garden in Assam

History

Latumoni is a small, family-run estate located in Tingkhong in Upper Assam. The small plantation measures approximately 2 acres and specializes in organically grown and hand-processed teas. It was started by Mr. Phukan; a first-generation tea maker. He originally sold his picked broad-leaf Assamica tea leaves to inorganic CTC production factories located nearby. However, the local factories would sometimes not need his leaves, as they were surplus to requirements and the leaves ended up in a ditch. That was not ideal for Mr. Phukan’s family. As a sideline to this, Mr. Phukan would also sell small batches of pan-fried green teas. This style of tea is relatively uncommon in Assam.

Moving to small production

In 2015, with the help of a wholesaler who specializes in small-batch teas, Mr. Phukan has been able to set up Latumoni as an experiment to process small production. It was a major change for the garden workers. They were used to pluck 20-30 kg of tea leaves a day, since they were paid for the quantity. Now, they were supposed to pick only the top leaves in a delicate manner. In this way, one can pluck only 3-5 kg a day.
In the early years, the project was close to failing. There was limited funding and hundreds of processed tea batches before they got close to the desired quality. The extra difficulty was the addition of the organic farming style. They do not have the resources to pay for the organic certification, yet the gardens work within the natural and organic farming principles.

Sustainable Natural Farming

Finally, the hard work paid off. The sustainable and natural farming techniques helped to control unwanted pests and to revive the garden´s natural ecology. The teas were gaining worldwide a good reputation and they are seen as one of the finest productions coming from Assam. Mr. Pukhan achieved the goal to produce high-quality tea.

Bottoms up!

So last but not least, we have the possibility to drink great teas knowing that we should never give up. We shall go for our idealistic dreams and make them happen! Thank you, Mr. Pukhan for this great example.

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