Sikkim Tea: A Unique and Organic Tea Variety from India

Sikkim tea, also known as Temi tea, is a distinct variety of tea grown in the state of Sikkim, India. While it is not as widely recognized as its neighboring Darjeeling tea, Sikkim tea has gained popularity due to its unique taste and increasing demand for organic products. In this article, we explore the history, characteristics, production, and medicinal uses of Sikkim tea.

History of Sikkim Tea

Temi Tea Garden, owned by the Sikkim state government, is the primary producer of tea in Sikkim. The garden was established by the last king of Sikkim, Palden Thondup Namgyal, with the aim of providing employment to Tibetan refugees in the region. Today, the garden is known for producing high-quality organic tea.

Characteristics of Sikkim Tea

Sikkim tea is harvested during different flushes throughout the year. The first flush, which is harvested in spring, has a golden color and a light floral finish. It has a slightly sweet taste and aroma. The third flush, also known as Monsoon Flush, is full-bodied and has a mellow taste. The final flush, Autumn Flush, has a well-rounded taste and a hint of warm spices. Sikkim tea is known for its toasty and strong flavor. The tea is available in black, white, green, and oolong varieties.

Production and Sale of Sikkim Tea

Sikkim’s temperate weather and altitude provide the ideal conditions for tea cultivation. The state produces two varieties of tea: the China variety and the clone variety. Sikkim produces an estimated 0.5 million kg of tea annually, with about 75% of it being sold via the Kolkata auction center. The remaining tea is packaged for local sale. Sikkim tea is popular in the international market due to its organic certification. Major importers of Sikkim tea include Germany, United States, France, Canada, and Japan.

Tea Estates in Sikkim

In addition to Temi Tea Garden, there are several smaller tea estates in Sikkim. Bermiok Tea Garden, established in 2002, is a boutique tea garden spread over 15 acres at an elevation of 2500 ft to 3200 ft. It produces around 1200 kg of tea annually and is known for its floral and woody liquors. The garden is completely organic and managed by Mr. Nikhil Pradhan and Mrs. Dolka Densapa.

Medicinal Uses of Sikkim Tea

Studies have shown that Sikkim tea has significant inhibitory activity against inflammation caused by carrageenin, histamine, serotonin, and prostaglandin. The tea extract also inhibits exudative inflammation, granuloma formation, and polyarthritis. It has also shown significant inhibition against glucose oxidase-mediated inflammation. These findings demonstrate the efficacy of Sikkim tea in the chronic phase of inflammation.

In conclusion, Sikkim tea is a unique and organic tea variety with a distinct taste and aroma. It has gained popularity in recent years due to its organic certification and increasing demand for organic products. With its favorable climate and altitude, Sikkim has the potential to become a major player in the tea industry.

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