(Last Updated on : 01/01/2016)
Avongrove Tea Estate is situated at the foothills of the Himalayas, overlooking the picturesque Balasun River. This is one of the most highly reputed tea estates in Darjeeling
, because they follow the most traditional ways of manufacturing tea till date to ensure the best of quality. Avongrove Tea Estate is also one of the most picturesque tea gardens in Darjeeling. This tea estate of Darjeeling is situated in the Rungbong Valley, on the banks of the Balasun River at 2200 feet above sea level. The elevation goes up to 5700 feet. In Darjeeling in the foothills of the Himalayas
, Avongrove Tea Estate is spread across two hillsides thickly populated with tea bushes on the crests and thick forest in the valleys; the Balasun River meanders along its course below.
This certified organic tea estate of Darjeeling has to its credit a sprawling 185 acre of plantation area that is known to produce very good quality spring and summer tea. Being settled on the banks of Balasun River, the tea estate has a perennial source of water; something which is rare in the case of other estates in the vicinity.
Etymology of Avongrove Tea Estate
Avongrove means "Nest of Birds" and the name is justified, since many colourful birds
are seen in this tea garden.
Production of Tea at Avongrove Tea Estate
About 184.79 hectare of land is under tea
and there are 500 workers who live on the estate to maintain optimal plucking rounds. Avongrove Tea Estate is certified as an organic tea estate
under USA (USA), JAS (Japan), NOP and NPOP (India and the EU).
The factory of Avongrove Tea Estate was built in 1998 and since then produces about 60,000 to 70,000 kg of tea a year. The Avongrove Tea Estate has a perennial source of water and almost the entire area under tea cultivation can be irrigated. Avongrove Tea Estate offers a range of specialty Darjeeling Tea
that is processed by expert hands.
In order to maintain the desired quality, traditional methods are taken to manufacture tea, nurturing every leaf from the time it is carefully hand-picked to when it is packed with pride as the best Darjeeling tea. Teams of 15 pluck different sections of the Avongrove Tea Estate, taking care to ensure that the leaves are just the right size to provide the finest quality, handling plucked bundles gently so they do not get crushed or ruptured.
The processing factory of Avongrove Tea Estate is continually monitored by the veteran manager, tasting and making adjustments so that a rich and eternal flavour is derived. The various processes of withering or removing moisture, like gentle rolling, oxidizing and finally firing of the leaf must be properly tuned so as the optimum ratio differs from season to season and even day to day. During the first flush period in early February and March, the leaf offers a crisp, light brew and during the second, the best Avongrove cup is a gently golden in colour, smooth and flavoured.
Besides the traditional Darjeeling leaf tea, Avongrove Tea Estate specially provides hand-woven “Florette”, which is a beautiful flowering tea and the naturally fragranced teas that provides an additional soothing aroma to the inherent Darjeeling.
Variants of Avongrove Tea
Some of the variants of Avongrove Tea include First Flush Leaf Tea, which is the crisp, subtle infusion with a pungent flavour; second Flush Muscatel, which is wiry, a quietly coppery cup, aromatic and round; Euphoria, which is rich with flavour. White Tea of Avongrove Tea Estate is a speciality that is made with only the tips for a light, pale cup and a delicate, lasting flavour. Other variants of Avongrove Tea Estate include the thin silver leaves of Silver Blossom, Fragranced Tea Pearls, fragranced with vanilla, mint or lemongrass; Florette, Pine Scented Tea Pyramids, Olympic Flame, Deorali and Peony Rosette.
Best Time to Visit Avongrove Tea Estate
Darjeeling is one of the few hill stations
in India that are suitable for trips throughout the year. However, slightly unpleasant times can come during the time of monsoons, when the hill station receives a large amount of rainfall. Thus, it is better to avoid this season, if you are going to visit the tea plantations. Winter season is certainly the best time to visit Avongrove tea estate. During this time, the hill station blooms in a cool and serene ambience.
How to Reach Avongrove Tea Estate
The beautiful Avongrove tea estate has its address in the Rungbong valley of Darjeeling. One can make use of the route that goes through the small town of Sonanda, which is located on the outskirts of Darjeeling. Nearest airport to Darjeeling is Bagdogra
, which operates direct flights from Indian cities
. The railway station is nearest to the hill station. Tourists looking for breathtaking road journeys to the hill station of Darjeeling can start from Gangtok