Of all the high-grown teas in the world, one
of the highest is Korakundah Tea.
At an average elevation of 2500 metres above mean sea level,
Korakundah Tea Estate situated in the Nilgiri ‘Blue
Mountains’ in South India, produces teas with distinctive
flavours that reflect the local geography as well as the special
Pristine streams and virgin forests surround the estate,
which almost crowns the Nilgiri ranges. A buffer area of reserve
forest effectively acts as an ‘exclusion zone’
so that the teas are grown in an atmosphere that is clean
and absolutely pollution-free. A distinctive feature on Korakundah
is ‘shelter-belts’ of trees that help protect
the tea bushes from frost, which at this altitude is a climatic
occurrence; this also means that Korakundah has more shade
trees than normally seen on a tea estate.
Korakundah was initially opened up in 1930 and is now rated
as one of the premier organic tea estates in India, carrying
out the plantation and manufacture of orthodox black and green
teas. The estate has converted to organic processes since
1994 and is the first tea estate in South India to be ‘certified
organic’. The entire estate is 100% organic with only
natural cultivation methods in use; organic manure and neem-based
pesticides ensure that the tea is totally free of harmful
pesticide residues and inorganic salts which result from the
use of chemical and synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
Vermiculture, nature’s own way of soil enrichment,
is used extensively. Earthworms have a beneficial effect on
plant growth by aerating the soil, promoting drainage and
drawing organic material into their burrows where it decomposes
faster, thus producing more nutritive materials for growing
To supplement the compost content of the manure, a dairy
farm with 150 head of cattle is maintained on the estate.
Teas are processed at the company-owned tea factory located
in the Korakundah estate. This factory produces primarily
orthodox and green teas, including orthodox decaffeinated
tea, oolong and other specialty teas. The teas are packed
in eco-friendly multi-walled paper sacks.
The teas are 100% pesticide free as per EU and German standards.
Korakundah Estate is certified organic by Institute of Marketecology,
Switzerland, conforming to NOP of USDA and is also ‘Kosher’
certified. The estate is a member of the International Federation
of Organic Agriculture Movements, Germany (IFOAM).
Organic tea production is not easy. It needs a large dedicated
workforce willing to work in a remote, mountainous region
prone to wind and chill round the year.
Korakundah takes good care of its workers who are provided
amenities such as free housing, medical and educational facilities
with well-equipped crèches for small children. Happily,
the organic cultivation processes have also had a beneficial
effect on the health of farm workers, who have less need for
medical services than earlier. At Korakundah, there are categorically
no employees below the age of 18 years.
Korakundah is thus the first amongst south Indian tea companies
to be on the list of approved tea sources of TransFair International.
As per their testimonial: “…when TransFair started
to think about extending its scheme to tea, Korakundah had
to be one of the first addresses to be thought of. Not so
much because Korakundah needed the help of TransFair, but
rather as a place where TransFair could take lessons from
and show it as an example to other tea producers…”
Korakundah Tea Estate is a unit of the United Nilgiri Tea
Estates Co. Ltd., which is the first tea company in the Nilgiris
to acquire the ISO 9002 certification. Korakundah has an established
Environmental Management System that monitors the impact of
the company’s activities on the Environment. This has
now been recognized and acknowledged by BVQI, the international
certifying agency, who have, on the 14th of May 2004, accorded
Korakundah the ISO 14001:1996 for the “ Plantation,
Manufacture, and supply of Organically grown orthodox black
tea and green tea”
Contact: The United Nilgiri Tea Estates Company Limited,
Chamraj Estate Post, The Nilgiris 643 204. Phone: 91-423-2258737
Fax: 91-423-2258837 E-mail: email@example.com