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Poabs Organic Estates: The newest tea estate in India

It’s in South India, but no, not in the Nilgiris. Not quite the Anamalais either, but thereabouts. Not only organic but ‘certified biodynamic’. And it’s certainly not amongst the oldest tea plantations – in fact, it’s the newest tea estate in India!

At a time when tea plantations in Kerala are in dire straits – some 20 estates have even shut down as being economically unviable – it takes guts and lots of chutzpah to enter into tea planting at this juncture. It takes entrepreneurs like the Poabs Group of Kerala to risk diversifying into tea, and backing up their venture with enough resources to make it successful.

Nestled in the Nelliyampathy hills of Kerala state in South India, the 500-hectare Poabs Organic Estate, at an average elevation of 3,500 feet, is the largest perennial multi-crop organic estate in India, growing tea and coffee, both arabica and robusta, with inter-crops of pepper, orange and cardamom.

On one side of the plantation, the Kollengode cliff forms a natural boundary – from a view-point you can see the plains and the town of Palghat. On other sides, and in the upper reaches, the estate shares a fence with reserve forests rich in biodiversity. Kerala, “God’s Own Country”, is a tropical paradise famous for its enchanting backwaters, lush green hills, ayurvedic systems, and cultural heritage, and attracts eco-tourists from around the world. Through sustainable agriculture, Poabs Estate makes a positive contribution to the region.

First opened in 1889, the Seethargundu estate went through several ups and downs over the years and it was even lying abandoned for 16 years, before the estate was taken over by the Poabs Group in 1989.

Originally planted with arabica coffee, tea was for the first time planted on the estate in 1993 to bring in an additional crop – creating in the process the first such large-scale tea plantation established since the colonial era, furthermore, under entirely organic systems. In effect, the tea is organically cultivated right from the start.
Poabs Tea is of “Single Strain Purity” as the tea made at the factory is from a single strain of tea plants from a single estate as in “Single Malt Whisky”. Poabs Tea has a pleasing brightness and briskness to it. The orthodox teas are comparable to those from the Dooars region.

Teas from Nelliyampathy have the unique advantage of being highly suitable for Ready-to-Drink teas (RTD), such as iced teas and flavoured teas. This is because the teas are neutral in nature and blend in well with flavouring and do not cloud the liquor in the case of RTDs.

The new, thoroughly modern tea factory is fully equipped with advanced tea processing machines as per international standards. Further, Poabs adheres to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems in place. Poabs has the capacity to produce orthodox, CTC and green teas as per customer’s requirements. The annual production of processed tea is around 250 MT/Annum.

The estate converted to biodynamic agriculture from the year 2000. Today, 350 cows are maintained on the estate, along with a nursery growing the herbs required for BD preparations – yarrow, chamomile, stinging nettle, dandelion and valerian, and extensive compost yards, such that the estate is considered a “model” project in organic farming circles.

Overall, the social and environmental norms on the estate fully meet the requirements of buyers with respect to conservation principles and ethical sourcing of tea and coffee from origin.

Poabs Estate offers a range of distinctive teas and coffees, cupped and profiled by experts. A bio-reactor treats coffee effluents. The award-winning washed robusta coffee from this estate is the taster’s choice, rated among the best organic robusta produced anywhere in the world.

Certified “Organic” by Skal International, Netherlands and Naturland, Germany.
Certified “Biodynamic” by Demeter-International, Germany

Contact: Poabs Organic Products Pvt. Ltd., Seethargundu P.O., Nelliyampathy
Palghat, Kerala PIN: 678 511, INDIA
Phone: +91 4923 246554, 246333
Telefax: +91 4923 246555 Alternate fax: +91 469 2614195




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