Climate change and its effect on Darjeeling Tea

There’s always a fuss being made about the environment. About global warming and climate change. Insufficient rainfall and landslides. So much that we’ve almost stopped paying attention to all of it. We don’t think twice when we pick up our favourite Darjeeling Tea.

But what if we told you that climate change is a crisis at the moment. So much so that it can disrupt the suitable conditions required for tea cultivation. Yes, the cup that’s on your table right now.

In the last decade, Darjeeling has seen erratic rainfall, frequent landslides, and extreme temperatures. The tea estates are feeling the hit. West Bengal has witnessed a significant decrease in wetlands. Darjeeling Tea plantations need balanced rainfall, but the change has resulted in intense dry spells and severe downpours. This causes soil erosion and destroys the white tea plantations. The crop cycles are changing and the invasion of termites and pests have increased. This leaves farmers confused and they are struggling to grapple with this situation. All of this affects tea production and as a result, tea companies.

What are the climatic requirements of growing tea?

Having originated in Southwestern China, characterized by the warm climate, abundant rainfall, high humidity and sufficient light, tea plants evolved specific characteristics to suit this climate. As global warming causes significant changes in the suitable changes required for tea cultivation like temperature and precipitation, other factors like soil pH, water content, nutrient availability
are also affected. A combination of these factors directly affects the quality of tea.

How does this affect tea production?

It’s all evident in just a teacup. Due to fluctuating temperatures and disturbed patterns of rainfall required for tea cultivation, the quality of Assam tea is going down. The prices are shooting up because supply is far behind the demand. This, in turn, is forcing the farmers to adopt the use of pesticides. This not only brings down the quality of the crop but also degrades the soil, depleting the organic matter that affects the water-holding capacity of the land. Indian tea comprises one-third of the world’s tea production. About half of that comes from Assam and the North East. So if you want to get an idea of how the world’s production of tea is going to get affected, well… do the math.

As global warming leads to fluctuating temperature, it directly affects the rainfall required for tea cultivation. The rise in temperature increases soil evaporation and plant transpiration that causes water shortage in areas with low rainfall. Stable temperatures and consistent rainfall, when disturbed, negatively affect the quality and the yield.

Why Ausum?

Here’s a little bit of good news. Ausum believes in organic tea blends that are ethically sourced, and contain no chemicals or preservatives. It’s a cup that comes with good vibes, backed by a whole lot of trust. So if you’re wondering which tea is best, we just gave you the answer! So do your bit to save the environment – just like we did!

We believe in the principle of minimal waste. Our organic tea bags are made from cornstarch and are completely biodegradable. All our tea bags are chemical-free and contain nothing that can harm our rivers.

Lastly, we understand the role we play within the ecosystem and how we can ensure the climatic requirements of growing tea are undisturbed. This is why we work with a single estate that is part of the Rainforest Alliance to ensure that the green cover of our planet is unharmed.

Let’s make that difference, even if it’s one cup at a time.

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