One foot in Darjeeling. A Mindful tea heritage and love of kombucha


When we met Gwen Bedey, Mindfulness Coach and all round good vibe mistress, at the recent Detox Health Beauty wellness day at beautiful Archerfield Walled Garden, she told us how much she loved our kombucha, and when we talked it turned out the connection ran a lot deeper than we knew. She and her son particularly enjoy the No.4 Darjeeling, and here is why...

No.4 Darjeeling kombucha tea at Archerfield Walled Garden

 A family history steeped in Darjeeling tea by Gwen Bedey

Darjeeling, home to the ‘Champagne of teas’ and birthplace of my beloved Nana in 1916, has always held a great fascination for me.

Tea growing in the foothills of the Himalaya’s began in 1841 when the superintendent of Darjeeling, Dr Campbell started to experiment growing Chinese Tea.  Tea nurseries were established and commercial development began during the 1850’s in Darjeeling. Workers migrated mostly from Nepal, also from neighbouring Bhutan and Sikkim. The land was gradually farmed into terraces where mainly black tea was cultivated. The population boomed.

Since Indian Independence in 1947 the tea production continues.  Darjeeling 2nd Flush Tea is known as the best.

In 2015 our family – my husband and I, our children, then aged 10 and 7, with my Mum and Dad - made a pilgrimage to Darjeeling and Kalimpong.  Amazing to follow in my Nana’s footsteps who lived most of her life in Scotland, but her childhood and young adult life was spent there. We wanted to discover more about where she spent those years.  My English tea planting great grandfather had 11 children with my Nepalese great grandmother.  All children were sent to board at Dr Graham’s School, Kalimpong which was seen as a chance for children born of mixed race to be protected from the general perceived disapproval they faced, whilst being given an education to prepare for new opportunities.

Mahakal Temple, Darjeeling
Mahakal Temple, Darjeeling

A feast for the senses

We immersed ourselves when there... Meeting extended family, drinking the most invigorating tea we had ever ingested, witnessing the third highest mountain in the world ‘Kangchenjunga’ as the cloud finally lifted.  Experiencing a culture that was a feast for the senses from the vibrant clash of azalea plants, to the pungent aromatic incense hanging in the warm sunshine.  Tasty spicy dishes with a choice of Tibetan Momos and noodles or afternoon tea.  Still a mix of cultures, religions and ventures rubbing along together.

Darjeeling’s mountainous landscape was covered in forest and the only known inhabitants prior to British rule were the monks who lived in the monastery built by Lama Dorje-Rinzing in 1765.  Some believe that the name Darjeeling originated from the monks calling the area ‘Dorje-ling’, meaning land of the thunderbolt.  The Dorje is held during Buddhist rituals to encourage enlightenment.

Darjeeling mountains
Kanchenjunga Mountain

From Darjeeling hot teas to Left Field chilled kombucha teas

My son and I first experienced Left Field Kombucha when I decided to boost his gut health as part of a new strategy to clear his eczema.  Real Foods in Edinburgh recommended Left Field for its taste... how good can it be? I thought, going on past dabbles with Kombucha.  What a surprise!  Darjeeling Second Flush Tea!!  Like a Prosecco replacement in beer bottles.  My thirteen year old son was happy clinking the booch bottles whilst drinking something delicious, supporting his health and connecting to our history.  A revelation for me who watches their alcohol intake and happily drinks this socially when available.  An enlightened choice perhaps?!

Family time enjoying a No.4 Darjeeling kombucha
My son and I enjoying a No.4 Darjeeling by Left Field Kombucha

Whilst appearing at the Detox Health Beauty Event at Archerfield in May this year, in a new venture Mindful Disco, I met the wonderful owners of Left Field Kombucha.  We share a synergy of supporting people’s health whilst providing a touch of sparkle and joy. It was a meeting of minds!

 Left Field Kombucha founders with Gwen
Meeting Jo and Geraint of Left Field Kombucha

Further information

About Gwen Bedey and Mindfulness

My intention is to share, inspire and facilitate Mindfulness. Awakening a richer and fuller life. Embracing life - whatever is present - with kindness. Letting go into your full potential. This year I have created a new venture called Mindful Disco - a chance to dance and shake out the tension in the body, grounded in Mindfulness, letting go to make space for joy and a lighter approach to life. I follow the UK Mindfulness Teachers Good Practice.

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