I and many others here never developed a taste for coffee, though the younger Estate staff live on it, as the The Steward notes at budget meetings — it’s not cheap to get good beans roasted well. We solved that problem by installing a small roaster here and roasting our own beans in small batches.
Tea is not something lends itself to growing here, so Ingrid, our Estate Buyer (who’s married to me), carefully selects the teas worth buying with advice from our Librarian, Iain, and a number of other tea drinkers here at the Estate. She was interested in seeing tea being grown and harvested so she got the financial blessing of Jean-Pierre, our Estate Steward, to take six weeks to explore the tea growing countries
Naturally I took a vacation from the Pub, leaving Finch, who’s the assistant Pub Manager, in charge. So last year was the year we took off for Asia, with travel bags in hand and an Estate credit card to use. (We travel light, as that makes it easier when in countries where security is dodgy. Since we both carry iPads with us, we prefer keeping those with us in tamper proof travel bags.) We planned on visiting a number of tea plantations without driving ourselves too hard, which meant limiting ourselves to selected ones in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Vietnam. Ambitious, yes.
We do use a reliable agent in-country for arranging lodgings, transportation, and introductions to plantation staff, as it cuts down on the bullshit of bad rides, shitty lodgings, and rip offs in general. We pay well, which helps too. Being resident in a climate which never gets too hot, we’re fine in the Hill Countries where tea is grown. We avoid the tourist areas of each country, which works nicely as the Hill Country regions are usually less spoiled by tourism and generally more pleasant as an outsider to be in.
To be continued…