In the latest episode of Shark Tank Season 2, startup Dorje Teas walked away with Rs 30 lakh investment for 15 per cent equity.
Here’s the story of the startup based out of the heritage Selim Hill Tea Garden in Darjeeling.
Owned by 24-year-old Sparsh Agarwal’s family since 1990, the Selim Hill Tea Garden is one of the 74 operational tea gardens in the region selling the world-famous Darjeeling tea.
Sparsh along with a friend established Dorje Teas — a venture which seeks to radically change the way Darjeeling tea is marketed and sold through a unique model.
‘Flush’ refers to the period when tea plants grow new leaves that are harvested. The first two flushes generate the highest amount of revenue for tea gardens.
This means that the spring harvest (first flush) and summer harvest (second flush) fetch a higher price than the monsoon harvest (third flush) and autumn harvest (fourth flush).
But through research, they discovered that “all four flushes have their unique taste, aroma, flavour and story”.
So, they focused on creating a subscription model that focused on the autumn and monsoon flushes.
Their research also showed that breaking the tea leaves reduces its quality, leaving behind a metallic tinge. So, they switched to hand sorting.
Under their unique subscription model, consumers pay Rs 2,100 for an entire year’s supply of fresh and organic tea.
Elaborating on the Shark Tank win, Sparsh says they are thrilled and “looking to be present in every major independent cafe in tier 1 cities in the next 18 months”.