Growing tea creates scenic landscape. I had an opportunity to see this beauty during my trip to Kerala region in Southwestern part of India. There is a small hill station up the mountains, named Munnar, famous for surrounding tea plantations. This small village by itself doesn’t have much to show from touristic side, but if you’ll take a tuk-tuk and go a bit further – the driver will show you the highland valleys, which views could be put straight on postcards.
We set off in early morning. On exact time, which was agreed day before, our vehicle was waiting for us. First stop – breakfast in local mini café. I am a big fan of Indian Masala Chai tea, which is made with special mix of spices, milk and sugar. So very regularly I asked for this one. But eyes, which was looking at me from the other side of the bar, explained: “No no no no, in a place where tea is being grown straight right there, nobody is drinking Masala Chai. Everybody are enjoying fresh, real taste and aroma of golden tea, without adding anything else into the cup.” Lesson – learned.
Later on we started moving and really soon hilly views of perfectly growing rich green tea plants showed up in their fullest beauty. If you will stop and listen for a while – soon you will hear the birds singing mixed with scissors sound, created by cutting leaves. Of course it depends on seasonality and harvesting time, but in March we were lucky to sea tea pickers working in those areas. They are always happy to sea travellers and always willingly posing for pictures.
To visit Kannan Devan Tea Museum as well was a good idea. There stories, how tea is being made, could be listened and parts of process by your own eyes seen. And of course at the end tasting cannot be forgotten. At the same place it is possible to buy various kinds of tea as well.
I am not a tea expert, so could not measure the quality or describe the taste of tea, which we had there. But at the end such experience of drinking this fragrant golden drink made from leaves picked right there was memorable. And of course, it was absolutely interesting to have a look how everything is being made there. ‘Cause to drink perfectly packed tea from white china cup while sitting on puffy couch in your modern home is one thing, but to touch the real tea soul somewhere in Indian highland valleys is absolutely another.