Between April and June the tea industry gets very excited, because for the majority of tea growing countries it is time to harvest.
However, unrest in the Darjeeling hills of India has all but wiped out the harvest of second flush Darjeeling teas.
Ethnic Nepalese who live in the West Bengal state of India, Ghurkas, halted the plucking of the premium tea. It is thought that this will increase the prices of the sought after leaves.
As part of their demands for a separate state to protect their Himalayan culture the Ghurka community started strikes and protests suspending tea plucking since the 9th of June.
The delay in plucking has resulted in the loss of the July crop as workers could not maintain the plants to make the leaves grow.
Blenders will be on the search for substitutes while growers’ incomes will be decreased.
“This is the first time we lost the entire second flush”
Speaking to Reuters, A.N Singh (managing director of Goodricke Group) said: “This is the first time we lost the entire second flush. The viability of tea estates is totally dependent on the second flush volume and quality. This is 20 per cent in terms of volume and 40 per cent in terms of revenue. This is a complete disaster for the industry.”
A spokesman from Twinings told Reuters: “We have been sourcing teas for more than 300 years and disruption of all sorts, including this type, is something we have to contend with from time to time.”
Fortunately, here at The Tea House we’ve secured a limited amount Second Flush that we are expecting in the near future.