While I was up in the hills near Darjeeling, I was able to visit some world famous tea estates! In addition to enjoying the palpable leaf-soaked-goodness with my mouth, the sights were excellent.
Unfortunately, I was disappointed to learn that there's really no smell from the tea plants. Bummer, dude.
The tea has been grown in these parts for hundreds of years, and virtually every bit of land is used -- even if it seems too steep to be used!
Again, like I said, it's pretty misty up in the hills. And steep. But they're determined to get the tea outta that land!
The tea pluckers are employed year round to pluck the freshest of new growths off the plants. They allow the tiny leaves to remain for next pass, pluck the extra large leaves & discard immediately on the ground, and pluck the "just right" buds for the baskets on their back.
Despite always appearing in rows, the pluckers individually seem to just float randomly between the unevenly spaced bushes. Even the bushes are not really arranged always -- sometimes they're in rows, sometimes in a "closest-packing" hexagonal format, and other times, just plopped wherever they'll fit. MMmmm!
(ps. Did anyone ever get any "Thurbo" tea? Must be loaded with caffeine, we all agreed, to warrant that powerful name! [It's pronounced "Turbo," with an aspirated T.])