traveling to the tea fields of munnar, with nourishtea

Traveling to a tea estate, to see how tea is grown and produced is a dream for us tea lovers.  Just as wine lovers dream of going to Napa Valley, or to The Hunter Valley; or as chocolate lovers dream of going to Paris – the same can be said of tea, seeing it all first-hand can make the whole tea experience just that much more personal.

I’ve spoken about nourishtea before; they are a Canadian tea company who has been on a mission to make great quality loose-leaf tea to consumers.  Making what can sometimes be a broad and intimidating category – fun, accessibly priced and desirable.  They are also in their second year of running a Sip-to-Trip competition for their customers, the winner of these tea focused trips gets sent to experience a tea themed experience first-hand.

I had a chat to the guys at nourishtea and asked Avi Markus what prompted nourishtea to design a tea travel trip like this; and asked Chris Draper about his own most memorable tea travel trip.  They kindly put me in touch with Christine, the winner of the first trip about her Sip-to-Trip tea travel experience in India.

Avi Markus, on how the Sip-to-Trip tea travel competition came to be:

The rationale behind Trip to Sip was essentially that there is a deep connection between both tea & travel (as you know), but also between travel and our customers.

Our consumers have an energy about them. They take real pride in themselves and their well-being, they surround themselves with friends and family, and they have a positive outlook on life and their future.  Our consumers also have a real appreciation and need of culture, personal education and self-reflection.  We designed the Trip-to-Sip to offer our nourishtea family an outlet –  a chance to “experience” a real ME moment.

Chris Draper, on his own most memorable tea travel experience:

I would say that my most memorable visit to a tea garden would have to be at Anxi County, Fujian, in China. I had always imagined the gardens of Tie Guan Yin (nourishtea’s Iron Goddess of Mercy) to be impressive, but this couldn’t have been more perfect.

Anxi county is famous for its oolong tea and visiting it was a feast for the eyes. It was awesome. There are two legends behind the Iron Goddess. The one that I fell in love with tells the story of how a poor farmer dreams of how a single tea shoot grows into large nurturing bush with the finest tea for all his neighbors, and they all went on to prosper.

I had always felt a draw to these gardens – the need to see for myself the complexity of this tea and the secretive (almost seductive) beauty behind it. When I finally arrived, I slowly climbed a winding trail, as terraced tea gardens slowly began to reveal themselves out of the steep sides of the mountain.  You could see the large leafs on the bushes destined to become this beautiful tea. This was an incredible journey for me and in many ways, it paved the road to nourishtea for Avi and I.


Christine Aquin Pope was the lucky winner of last year’s Indian Sip-to-Trip journey and she shared a little about her experience with me.  The area she went to was Munnar where she visited the tea fields.

Known as a haven of peace and tranquility, Munnar is an amazingly beautiful and idyllic tourist destination. At an altitude of 6000 feet, Munnar has been the favored summer resort since the colonial days. There are endless belts of tea plantations, pristine valleys and lush mountains, exotic species of flora and fauna, wild sanctuaries and forests and an aroma of spice scent the cool air.

What did you love about India, and what would you say was the most precious thing you got from this trip and experience.

We found India an amazing place full of loving people.

What surprised me about India:  the amount of wealth in Bombay – Indian wealth; the amount of natural resources growing throughout the country.  How beautifully dressed all the woman rich or dirt poor – the sari makes everyone look elegant. The bill board ads highlight Indian women who are fair skinned – they want to be white! (while I am always looking for a tan!)  India has a tremendous energy.  I have no doubt we are going to see fast changes in India as it grow into one of the most vibrant economic powers of the world.

What I loved about India: Seeing friends, the people.  Staying one night at a cardamom plantation – great views of the mountains; boat house cruise- seeing how the rice farmers live by the water; wonderful food; being with my husband for a solid two weeks!

I loved the tea plantations – especially the ones that had pepper vines growing throughout the field.

Seeing how loving people can be to one another was wonderful to experience. India is wonderfully spiritual. The families live simple life full of love. It’s rare to see so many different things- all at once, things like traffic, shops, food, weddings – we saw so many families celebrating in the parks, the marketing, the types of jobs people do.  It was a life-changing trip.

Would you be able to tell me what surprised you about the tea fields, were they as you imagined, or very different.

I had no idea what a tea plant would look like. I was happily surprised. They grow in beautiful plants that live to be 100 years old.

Now that you’ve seen first-hand how tea is grown, harvested and processed, how has that changed the way you see and experience tea.

I wonder if we will have tea 30 years from now.  Tea has to be picked every ten days– handpicked.  Who will pick the tea in 30 years?  Will it cost a fortune? As labour standards improve in India and China we will pay more for tea and all the food we take for granted.

In India they have a saying “a cup a tea a day keeps the Apothecary away”.  Tea is not only healthy I enjoy all the variety of teas, aromas, smells and tastes.

Christine also took some short videos of her time in India – you can she her in the tea fields here, and see the lovely afternoon tea cart at the resort she stay at here.

4 Responses to “traveling to the tea fields of munnar, with nourishtea”
  1. Megan says:

    What an awesome idea for a promotion! It is refreshing to see companies like Nourishtea trying to educate people and share what they are passionate about in such an honest and engaging way.

    Seems Christine went on her journey with an open mind and heart and came out with a lot from the experience.

    Such beautiful photographs as well.

  2. Amanda says:

    Gorgeous photographs!

    I may be planning a trip to India later in the year, is it possible for Christine to share how this trip was arranged? I wouldn’t know the first details on how to arrange a tour of some tea fields out there.

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