Guwahati, June 10: Specialty tea from Assam will get global recognition with two planters from the state who are developing standards for the variety being honoured at the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas, USA, from June 13 to 17.
The two planters - Raj Barooah of Aideobarie tea estate in Jorhat and Rajen Barua of Assam Heritage Tea Company in Dibrugarh - will be honoured by the International Specialty Tea Association at the event.
"They are receiving awards for the work that they have done on the advisory board for the association. Raj and I travelled around Assam talking to producers - from the smallest to the largest. Raj is also doing work on his estate as well as with the Tea Research Association for developing specialty teas. Rajen has been doing great work educating small growers in the production of specialty tea. They have been doing great work in developing standards for specialty tea," Austin Hodge, founder and director of the association, mailed The Telegraph.
The International Specialty Tea Association is a multinational endeavour to provide value to tea manufacturers, sellers and consumers. According to the association, the tea industry is a yearly $50 billion business, whose fastest growing sector is specialty tea.
The association aims to establish quality standards in tea-making and create an unbiased process for judging tea quality. This will result in the best teas setting the bar for standards of excellence, which will thereby define specialty tea. The evaluation system will be easily understandable and made available to the public.
"I have been involved with the process of establishing standards for specialty teas for a few years now. In the process, we at Rujani Tea have been able to create a variety of teas which have special attributes different to bulked commodity teas like CTC in our country. These teas have led us to carry out formal research in the green tea space which is accredited and thereby funded by the Centre. These teas have been showcased and displayed at several trade/food shows internationally and in India. We are now preparing to take them to the market through our online store rujanitea.com. I am elated at this appreciation by the association and hope this is only the beginning in this new domain in value addition for tea and pray that it will lead to a whole new dimension in the marketing of Assam tea," Raj told The Telegraph.
"I believe in keeping this small group of conscious tea farmers motivated along with some hand-holding and enable them to see the long-term benefits in following the correct agricultural practices and adherence to good manufacturing guidelines. Besides helping them set up specialised manufacturing units where they strive on making fine quality teas which brings value to them and others, I extend my support in internal marketing and for exports," Rajen, chief executive officer of Assam Heritage Tea Company Private Limited, told this correspondent.
The tea expo will see talks on Chais of India, Darjeeling in Depth: Tasting the Nectars of the Himalayas, Climate-Smart Tea Systems, In 2050, Will There Still be Tea and Why Are There So Few Chain Tea Shops, among others.
The others who will be honoured at the expo are Yao Guo Kun, Lu Cheng Yin, Zheng Guo Jian, Kevin Gascoyne and Daniel Bolton.