Garden Story

Giddapahar is a small family-owned tea garden located on the steep hillsides of Darjeeling, a region in the foothills of the Himalayas long synonymous with high quality tea.

The region of Darjeeling itself sprawls over several towns (including its namesake) across a mountainous corner of north-east India between Nepal and Bhutan, with Tibet to the north.  It’s in this unique terrain at elevations of over 2000m above sea level that some of the best tea in the world is grown.

The tea plant was first introduced here in the 1840s by the British who at the time were looking for an alternative to China to source tea.  They set about smuggling live tea plants and seeds out of China and replanting them in Indian soil.  It took several years of trial and error but by sheer luck the plants thrived in the cool high elevations of Darjeeling.

Today there are around 80 gardens in the Darjeeling district, producing about 10m. kg per year. It’s no secret that tea gardens have in recent years been struggling with higher costs, labour issues and the impacts of climate change which makes us value the Darjeeling tea we have even more given that there really is no other tea quite like it.

Meet the makers

The garden of Giddapahar (which means Eagle’s hill in Nepali) was first developed in 1881 and has been in the hands of the Shaw family ever since. Today it is managed by fourth generation Shumanshu Shaw and his brother.

The garden covers a relatively small area of around 200 acres, and sits at an altitude of between 4,500-5,200m., near the town of Kurseong in the heart of the Darjeeling district.

Giddapahar is one on the few remaining tea gardens in Darjeeling that still produces tea from older plantings of China bush tea varietals. Leaf from these tea bushes is known to add body and richness to the mouth-feel of a quality Darjeeling. This is what makes tea from a garden like Giddapahar stand out from the others in Darjeeling.