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The Little Tingrai Forest

The Chota Tingrai tea estate in Assam, India, was one of the first tea gardens (along with its sister tea estate Dinjoye) in upper Assam to be founded by native Indians (as opposed to being left over from the British colonial system). This brings a unique perspective to how they manage a tea community.

(photo courtesy of Mana-Organics)

Chota Tingrai is part of a fourth generation family owned Indian business. The business was founded in 1939 by Mr. Murleidhor Jalan, and is still operated and owned by the Jalan family today. They have a deep commitment to making sure their gardens are environmentally and socially sustainable. They have already converted one third of the Chota Tingrai tea estate to organic cultivation, and the rest of the garden is on the road to organic conversion in the near future.

(graphic courtesy of Mana-Organics)

India with Assam highlighted, the Chota Tingrai Estate is in the upper reaches of the Assam growing region.

(photo courtesy of Mana-Organics)

You can tell it is an Assam tea garden because of the long, straight, flat rows. In the background you can see the Chota Tingrai greenhouse, where they work with cuttings and seedlings for future plantings.

(photo courtesy of Mana-Organics)

The Chota Tingrai black tea factory, where they train local folks to join the management tea. In addition, all of the current Chota Tingrai field supervisors were promoted from within. This is indicative of the approach the Jalan family takes.

(photo courtesy Tony Rath)

A plucker in the Chota Tingrai fields. As with 99% of all Indian tea estates, the tea pluckers are women. In Chota Tingrai, they make a very strong effort to just employ local tea workers. 

(photo courtesy of Mana Organics)

The bridge over the river Tingrai. The estate is named for a local forest called “Tingrai” which borders the estate. “Chota” in Hindi means small. So Chota Tingrai translates as “the little Tingrai forest.”

We are very pleased and excited to be working directly with Chota Tingrai and Mana-Organics.

Bill Waddington, founder


  • Posted by Boba Box on

    Interesting post! Thanks!

  • Posted by Brian Newhouse on

    So great to see this dedication to “doing the right thing” in business; the hiring, training, promotion of local folks; and the movement toward organics. I’m enjoying the Assam Golden these days, and it’s nice to read about the place where it’s from!

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