Golden brew: Rare Assam tea bags world record at auction

A 2kg lot of Maijan Orthodox Golden tea sold for 141,002 rupees ($2,035).

A 2kg lot of Maijan Orthodox Golden tea sold for 141,002 rupees ($2,035).

AFP/Assam Company India Ltd

GUWAHATI, India - A rare Assam tea has sold for a world record price at auction in India, highlighting a boom for speciality teas while the industry as a whole is in crisis.

A two kilogram lot of Maijan Orthodox Golden tea sold for 141,002 rupees ($2,035).

An unidentified Belgian trader bought the tea through a local agent, an auction official said.

Guwahati Tea Auction Centre secretary Dinesh Bihani said it was a record price at auction, shattering the 50,000 rupees a kilo paid for some Manohari Golden tea the day before.

Buyers from Germany, Britain, the United States and Iran are active in the Assam market and higher prices are believed to have been paid in private sales.

Maijan Orthodox comes from 100-year-old bushes on plantations owned by Assam Company India Limited, one of the world's oldest tea enterprises.

"Rich in aroma and briskness, Maijan Golden offers a unique and exotic experience," Assam Company India director Sanjay Jain told AFP.

Production is a "tedious process" however, he added.

"The buds are plucked on specific dates depending on climatic conditions, rolled by hand and dried in sunshine.

"The whole process is very natural and there is no machine involved," Jain said.

He said only 35 kilos of the tea was produced this year and only two kilos were offered at this week's auction.

"We are very happy with the record price. It indicates that there are buyers for quality tea and this is good news for the tea industry in Assam," he said.

Source
AFP