While Assam tea made from tea leaves is known for its malty flavour, strong and bright colour, the Manohari Gold tea, true to its name gives a golden hue when brewed.
#ASSAM: A rare variety of tea from Assam, Manohari Gold tea, has been sold at a record-breaking price of R 10,315 ZAR (Rs 50,000) per kg under the pan-India auction system at the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre in Guwahati recently.
In fact, in 2018, the same tea from the same plantation — the 1,000-acre Manohari Tea Estate — had created a record by becoming the most expensive tea sold at any auction in India at Rs 39,001 a kg. This year, the variety broke its own record.
What makes the variety so expensive?
While Assam tea is known for its malty flavour and strong and bright colour, the Manohari Gold tea, true to its name, gives a golden hue when brewed.
As a result of oxidation, the colour changes from green to brownish in the fermentation process, and on drying, the buds become golden. They are then segregated from the black leaves.
Why is the price so high?
As it is manufactured from small buds, unlike tea leaves, the process is tedious. The norm is to pluck two tender leaves and a bud which is harvested four times a year.
While the ‘first flush’ of leaves is picked during late March, the ‘second flush’ is picked from May through June, the ‘third flush’ from July-September and the ‘fourth flush’ from October-November.
According to reports, since Assam has been reeling under devastating floods for the past few weeks, the price is said to be high this year. Reportedly, the specialty golden orthodox tea made from the buds of P-126 which is the ‘finest tea clone grown under perfect climatic conditions’ in the ‘second flush’, is unlike the traditional Assam teas processed by machines. Only five kgs of it could be produced this year which also reflected on the prices.
To process 1 kg of the Manohari Gold Tea, little less than six kg of tea buds went into producing it while a kilogram of mass-market tea consumes an average of 4.5 kg of tea leaves. Reportedly, each kilo took a week to pluck and sort to finish.