Nestled in the foothills of the northwestern Himalayas, Kumaon is a sort of forgotten region when it comes to tea production.
When the British introduced tea to India in the 1830s, they were first drawn to the acidic and well-drained soils of Kumaon. Although the plant thrived on the mountainside slopes, the region’s isolation made it difficult to get the tea from the mountains to the port, and the area was essentially abandoned in favour of Assam and Darjeeling.
It wasn't until the 1990s that the state government began looking for ways to create more economic opportunities for rural communities and turned to tea. And so, abandoned land with once-rich soil was leased from locals for cultivation, old tea bushes were rehabilitated and new organic ones were planted.
Today tea production is centered around the district of Champawat where more than 450 farmers produce tea on small-scale farms amounting to nearly 150 hectares. About 90% of those working on tea cultivation are women.