Tea! I’ve visited tea estates in Assam and Darjeeling and Munnar. Strolled around factories, learned about the process, ctc and the differences in the production to make white, green, black, dust, blends, you name it. I’ve done tea tasting and spat it out as required (easier than wine!).
I’ve created a tea experience in Delhi (its pretty good if anyone is interested), I’ve drunk chai made by the chaiwala author, in dhabas and up mountains with sadhus, and been in various five star establishment kitchens teaching them how to make it too! I’ve eaten tea leaf pakora and tea & date scones and of course, I never travel without my own stash of Yorkshire Tea. However, never before have I had a tea-waste, dyed stole designed and made just for me as I waited!
I recently met Nor Mohan Das who has been reviving natural dyes with villagers in Assam (it took him 2 years to perfect cow dung dying apparently!) He now works with 340 home spinners and 120 home weavers and all the cloth produced is then dyed naturally with turmeric, onion skin, mustard, lac, tea, cotton flower, hibiscus, myrobilen (a fruit) and mangistha root which is found in Arunachal.
He asked me which colour I would prefer and I was torn between cow dung, onion and tea waste, but eventually settled for onion and tea and decided to call it my “Wear a menu” range.