Guwahati, July 24: The flavour and aroma of authentic Japanese green tea can now be found much closer home. A tea garden in Tinsukia district of Upper Assam has started the first Japanese-style green tea factory.
The garden Chota Tingrai, belonging to Jalan Industries Pvt Ltd, has just started a Japanese green tea manufacturing unit, a first-of-its-kind in India, using machines, techniques and know-how imported from Japan.
The 600-hectare garden is manufacturing Japanese green teas - guricha and hojicha in its factory. Majority of the tea produced in Japan is green.
The garden produces 6 lakh kg tea out of 16 lakh kg of tea produced by other gardens of the company. The trial production started in May.
Guricha is a form of Japanese tea which is well known for its ring-type shape and mellow liquors with a sweet aftertaste.
Hojicha is a form of roasted Japanese tea that is popular in Japan for its health benefits as it has negligible to no-caffeine contents.
The company has hired Japanese tea experts and has named the factory Chota Tingrai Hara Green Tea Factory. The factory is dedicated to Hara family from Japan who worked tirelessly and selflessly with the team to set up the factory in Assam.
The director of Jalan Industries Pvt Ltd, Mrityunjay Jalan, said: "Shoji Hara and Masanori Yanagawa, green tea factory experts working with us, visited Chota Tingrai last November to get an assessment of the leaves and the site of the factory. After trials with hand-rolled green teas, they were of the opinion that the project can be a success."
The Rs 7.5-crore factory has a capacity of producing 3 lakh kg of green tea per annum.
"The Japanese are pioneers of green tea manufacturing and have advanced greatly in technology. So, by using their system we can produce the best green tea product in a fully automated setting," Jalan said.
"The reason why Japanese green tea is loved by all lies in the manufacturing process. The steaming process used in Japan ensures that the colour of the tea remains green and the taste is stronger," Shoji Hara of Umenoen Tea Company told The Telegraph.
He said the factory in Chota Tingrai is fully automated and the first modern authentic Japanese green tea factory in India.
Jalan said the green tea manufactured here is a lot different from other green tea products now sold in Indian markets.
"Using the characteristics of Assam leaf and marrying it with Japanese technology, the green tea produced has a green polished appearance, an earthy aroma and mellow liquors with a lingering sweet aftertaste," he added. "Unlike in Japan, where green teas are not sorted, Chota Tingrai will sort its green teas keeping Indian and global consumers in mind." "Green tea which we are producing is mainly for Indian markets as we want the Indians to get access to quality and authentic products. We also have a small base in the US where we are looking to export. The conventional green tea is sold under the brand name of Midori while the organic brand for our green tea is Mana Organics," Jalan said.