India Brews a Stronger Cup

The country's weakened tea industry wakes up to new technology and changing tastes

Zackary Canepari for TIME

Leaf pluckers at the Happy Valley Tea Estate in Darjeeling work the 132 hectares of tea gardens.

The cool valleys of Darjeeling produce some of the best teas in the world, delicate little leaves so delicious that some call them the "champagne of teas." But you don't need to taste them to know how much they are valued. At Happy Valley tea estate, perched at 6,800 ft. (2,100 m) where the Himalayas snake into India between Nepal and Bhutan, workers harvest the autumn flush, plucking each tip of dwi paat suiro--two leaves and a bud--as if it were worth its weight in gold. As the sun sets on the looming Mount Kanchenjunga and a lazy mist begins to...

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