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February at Chota Tingrai Tea Estate

John Grams Chota Tingrai Tea Estate monkeys

February at Chota Tingrai Tea Estate

February starts quietly at Chota Tingrai. The evenings are cool, the factory is silent. Even the monkeys seem off on other adventures. The tea bushes are not fans of the cold nights and cloudy mornings. The unpruned plants curl their leaves as if they shiver. The sections of pruned bushes look like they are at home in a New England forest with their bare branches. No frogs, no snakes, just annoyed cows and goats roaming the garden, trying to sneak a sweet morsel of weed from under a bush before being chased off by a garden guard. The people don't...

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Introducing Mana Organics' Organic Masala Chai

John Grams

Introducing Mana Organics' Organic Masala Chai

The first time I had masala chai, and I mean real masala chai, was in a Calcutta gully behind a Durga Puja Pandal celebrating women's handicrafts as I felt the soft drops of the slow drizzle. The chai wallah poured us cups as we huddled under the foot-wide awning of his stall. The tea didn't taste watery, or overly sweet. Rather, the beverage was thick, with a sharp note of spicy ginger, backed with the warm black tea only slightly diluted by the earthy clay of the cup. A Chai Wallah in Calcutta. Photo by Goutam Roy for Al Jazeera...

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Happy Holidays 2017 From Mana Organics

John Grams

Happy Holidays 2017 From Mana Organics

It's finally gotten chilly here in Calcutta. And while it there is not snowflake for 200 miles, all the waiters are wearing Santa hats, and street vendors are wrapped up like Eskimos. As we head into the end of the year, Avantika and I want to thank you for your continued support in our endeavor to bring you organic, social responsible, delicious teas direct from our family tea gardens. Without you, we would have not accomplished a fraction of what we did this year. Stay on the look out from some fantastic new tea (rhymes Wasala Sai), and organic herbal...

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Bringing Mana to The US of A and The SF Tea Festival

Avantika Jalan

Bringing Mana to The US of A and The SF Tea Festival

July, 2013, I walked into the ferry building for the first time admiring the the location, the architecture and all the fresh, well packaged farm-to-table chocolates and fancy coffees. I took some photos of the packaging and whatsapped them to Rashmi, in India. “Look! It’s like the brown paper packaging we have for Mana! I see it everywhere in SF”. I knew what she was going to say. “Thicks, figure out a way to get our products there, it will fit right in that market”.  I was in the Bay Area for my masters, studying development practice – a sort...

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Introducing Dinjoye Tea Estate’s Limited Edition Silver Needle White Tea 2017

John Grams

Introducing Dinjoye Tea Estate’s Limited Edition Silver Needle White Tea 2017

Recently Mana Organics has been expanding its sustainable management activities to tea gardens beyond Chota Tingrai. While working at one of our recently recruited estates, Dinjoye, we came across this wonderful silver needle white tea. Because white tea has such mystique surrounding it, I thought it would be a good time to share what makes Dinjoye’s silver needle white tea so special. White tea comes from the same plant as both green and black tea. White tea is made from the newest growth on the plant at the very start of the plucking season. The tea buds are covered by...

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