History and records are sometimes created in varied and amusing ways. For instance, how would you react if we told you that someone in Guwahati, Assam, happily paid Rs 40,000 for a kilogram of tea leaves?
Good morning. Stop. Don’t look at the breakfast tea in your hand, or the one you had early morning.
Yes, the amount was Rs 40,000 a kg. But it wasn’t any ordinary tea. Rarity, they say, has its own price.
For much part of history, tea has been a luxurious beverage. Right from the years when it was accidentally discovered by the royalty in China to the British soothing their taste buds to this wonder leaf and starting mass-scale production in Assam, Darjeeling, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Nilgiri and the Kumaon Himalayas.
In fact, through much of 19th century England, tea remained a luxurious beverage, surpassing coffee by leaps.
On Thursday, the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre (GTAC) scripted a record after a line of Golden Needle Tea fetched a whooping Rs 40,000 for a kg during a pan-India auction.
The tea was purchased by Assam Tea Traders, one of the oldest tea shops in Guwahati.
The Golden Needle are small buds that are carefully plucked, the leaf has a coating of gold colour that makes it soft and velvety to touch. This special needle tea is bright gold in colour, has a sweet taste and is rich in aroma.
This specialty tea was prepared by the Arunachal Pradesh Donyipolo Tea Estate, GTAC officials said. With this record in its kitty, Arunachal Pradesh too has marked its place on the international tea map.
Speaking about their special tea, Manoj Kumar, manager of the Donyipolo Tea Estate, said producing the Golden Needle Tea took a lot of effort. “Earlier, we had prepared the Silver Needles White Tea from our garden and it fetched us Rs 17,001 per kg.”
Kumar said these special teas are “made only when natural forces align with precise tea making skills”.
In July this year, Manohari Gold Tea, an orthodox tea variety, fetched Rs 39,001 during a pan India auction at the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre. The tea was sold by Contemporary Brokers and purchased by Saurabh Tea Traders of Guwahati for their upcountry buyers at Delhi and Ahmedabad.
The Manohari Gold Tea was reportedly produced by the Manohari Tea Estate in Dibrugarh and made by one CK Parashar under the patronage of Rajan Lohia, the garden’s owner.
Speaking to Shillong Times about the tea’s specialty, Lohi said the tea leaves look like crystals of 24 carat gold. He said very delicate buds were hand plucked and a lot of effort and dedication went into its preparation.
“The phenomenal price speaks that quality has no end and tea lovers are ready to pay any price for such innovative and boutique quality tea,” he said.