Richardson travels to India on tea tour

December 14, 2004

PERRYVILLE - A noted tea writer, tea blender and frequent guest speaker at tea conferences across the nation, Bruce Richardson recently added a new distinction to his list of tea expertise.

In September, the owner of Elmwood Inn Fine Teas here participated in a two-week trade mission to India, one of the world's leading tea exporters. He went to examine and advise the country's tea industry as it evolves to meet the changing demands of the global marketplace.

Hosted by the Tea Board of India, the 11-member Specialty Tea Institute delegation comprised of tea buyers, educators and journalists from the United States toured tea gardens in Darjeeling and Assam, visited the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre, and met with leading tea industry and government officials in Calcutta, the government headquarters of the Tea Board.

"The American tea market has changed dramatically over the past 10 years," Richardson said. "India, like all tea-growing countries, is eager to learn more about our tea preferences."


As a connoisseur of tea, Richardson had the opportunity to research and learn more about the history of this 150-year-old industry that is so vital to India's economy. Visits to seven tea estates in Assam, the largest tea-growing region in the world, and Darjeeling gave a new appreciation for the laborious production of the premium teas.

"Elmwood Inn Fine Teas has been importing tea directly from superior gardens in Assam and Darjeeling for several years. We have developed personal relationships with several tea gardens there," explained Richardson.

"From this, we not only have confidence in the quality of teas we select, we also have an understanding of the people who grow and pick the teas we enjoy. We feel it's important for our customers to also know this story."

Richardson took more than 2,000 photographs during his visit to India. His photo essay, "Changing Face of Indian Tea," appears in the December issue of Fresh Cup magazine.

In addition to his trip to India, Richardson's travels have taken him to many countries, where he tastes and purchases new teas.

His travels include a 2003 tour of the tea gardens of Sri Lanka, in addition to other international visits to research and photograph tea shops and gardens for books produced by Elmwood Inn's publishing division, Benjamin Press.

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