It required a fair amount of resolve to manually develop our boutique ‘plantation’ on the steep terrains of our virgin Himalayan forrest. The British used armies of their labour in the mid 19th century when they established their plantations in the Darjeeling region. A small family enterprise attempting to do this with its village community in the 21st century is rare. Tea had never been grown in this erstwhile Buddhist kingdom until the state government established its own tea garden in 1969. It was in 2000 that we decided to become the first professionally managed private tea estate in Sikkim. It took us nearly two years to make our land cultivable. While doing this we preserved the existing eco system of drains that went through the land and the shade trees. In 2003 we planted 100% high variety Darjeeling clonal teas. We nurtured them for 5 years and started commercial production only in 2008 and installed our own micro tea factory.We adopted age old agricultural practices of the indigenous tribes to preserve the heritage and secrets that have been passed on by generations and combined it with modern biofarming and tea processing techniques. We took our time keeping a long term vision for our estate and our village eco-system. We also take our time in crafting our teas, right from harvesting by hand and manufacturing in small batches to sorting by hand. Today our uniquely flavoured teas are appreciated by connoisseurs and tea tasters in the trade. Our estate is certified by the Sikkim Organic Mission and recognised by the Tea Board of India.
Sikkim, a beautiful Himalayan Buddhist kingdom was founded in 1642 and joined the democratic mainstream of The Indian Union as its 22nd State in 1975. It is India’s 2nd smallest state with an area of 7,096 sq. km. A geographically stunning region teeming with rich bio-diversity and culture, it is today a popular international tourist destination for Buddhism, horticulture and adventure sports.
Lonely Planet ranked Sikkim the world’s #1 place to visit in 2014, citing its record as India’s cleanest state and its sustainable community-based tourism in less developed areas while New York Times has described Sikkim as a haven for spiritual seekers ranking it at #17 in its “52 places (in the world) to Go in 2017”.
The world’s third highest peak, Kanchenjunga, is located here. The state has 28 mountain peaks, 21 glaciers, 227 high altitude lakes, five hot springs, eight mountain passes and over 100 rivers and streams, one National Park and six wildlife sanctuaries.
Sikkim began its organic mission in 2003, when the State Government banned the use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers and called for agricultural community to return to natural methods of farming.
Since then 74,000+ hectares of the state’s arable land (~70%) has been classified as organic including our Bermiok village.
The people of Bermiok Tea Estate is a small and growing ‘family’ who are together striving to achieve a common goal, something we know is much bigger than ourselves – to build an enterprise that can live on for the coming 100 years and more. An enterprise that has the potential to uplift the local community and secure its future generations, and one whose produce and the stories behind it, will make this small region known amongst tea drinkers, the world over.
Local women are the backbone of our enterprise and our mission is to empower them with their own livelihood and progressive tea farming skills, establish a symbiotic relationship with the villagers and augment the Bermiok rural eco-system.
Of course, one can have the best intentions but it doesn’t mean you will craft the finest tea. We have also added a professional support system that will ensure we do just that. We have a second generation tea planter who is developing our estate for its next phase of growth, we have the erstwhile national brand manager of a major global consumer brand developing our trade channels, we have a husband and wife couple with a combined 50 years of experience in a leading organic Darjeeling tea garden who supervise our field work and manufacturing, and we also have senior retired tea planters, the Tea Masters as we call them, who advise us on an on-going basis.
The Bermiok Tea Estate, Bermiok Village, Rayshyap Block, South District, Sikkim .
Our tea estate is located in Bermiok village which is 15 mins drive over theTeesta river from the town of Singtam.Singtam is 90 kms (3 hr. drive) from Bagdogra International Airport in Siligurion NH10 that leads to Gangtok (46 kms. / 1.5 hr. drive