Assam tea in Harrods gift set

HALMARI MAKES A MARK; EX-TOCKLAI SCIENTIST IN THE LIMELIGHT

By ROOPAK GOSWAMI
  • Published 27.04.16
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Guwahati, April 26: "Tea is an experience. Each sip gives you the permission to relax, to be in the moment, and to be truly who you are," says an inscription on Harrods Top Tier Tea Gift Box. As one opens the lid, one can only agree.

The bliss of connoisseurs brings good cheer to Assam as its Halmari tea is now among the top nine teas from around the world that the gift set offers. This is the first time that Halmari orthodox tea has been included in the top bracket and the selection has been done by none other than Harrods, London's most famous department store.

"The top tier gift set was originally created in 2013 and Halmari was introduced into the range following the availability of the second flush teas selected from our buying trip in June. The new selection was retailed from January this year. This is the first time we have changed the gift set and it was changed as we felt Halmari offered us an improvement in quality for the selection," Clare Welton, tea and coffee buyer for Harrods, told The Telegraph.

She said the selection of the teas is based on an assessment of quality, provenance and exclusivity. "It is in essence a selection for the tea connoisseur that allows our customers to explore some of our best teas," she said.

The Harrods Top Tier Tea Gift Box has four teas from India - two apiece from Assam and Darjeeling (see chart) - while the rest are from Japan, China and Taiwan.

The store says its top tier set is a very important range as it provides customers with quality products that exceed their expectations and it also demonstrates Harrods' substantial purchasing power. It says Harrods has been offering speciality teas for many years and today it offers over 140 teas from all over the world. The Top Tier gift box was selected carefully and launched in 2013 to showcase the world's most luxurious loose leaf teas from rarefied locations. "We have a full traceability for our teas and we purchase them directly from the plantations," it says.

Soham Daga of Calcutta-based Amarawati Tea Company Ltd, which owns Halmari, said: "We are really happy. It is really great that Harrods has chosen us. This is dedicated to everyone in the Halmari team."

The company has two gardens, Halmari and Duliabam, spread over 534 hectares in Dibrugarh district of Upper Assam. The gardens produce 9.5 lakh kg tea annually. Halmari is located 28km from Dibrugarh town and 430km from Guwahati.

It holds the record for the highest prices in CTC teas in the country and gets a handsome price for its orthodox tea at the Calcutta auctions. It had sold CTC at Rs 441 per kg at the Calcutta auction last year.

The company sells all its tea through auctions and has now strengthened its online presence.

"Halmari has chosen not to sit on its laurels. They have been working to improve and it is paying now," K. Katyal, chairman and managing director of J. Thomas, the largest and oldest tea auctioneer, said. Thomas sells Halmari tea in the auctions.

"The only focus has been quality and nothing else," a garden official said.

Industry officials said to have a product listed at Harrods ensures that the company makes quality goods and it is the ultimate goal for all brands to have their products listed there.

The departmental store, located on Brompton Road near Knightsbridge underground station in London, is spread over seven floors with 330 departments. The store was opened in 1849 by Charles Henry Harrod as an expansion of his humble East End grocery and tea business. Today, it is one of the most distinguished names in the world.

Assam tea, with attributes like rich, malty flavour, fuller body, bright colour, briskness and sweet aroma, has become a hot favourite with tea enthusiasts all over the world.