A golden butterfly has unfurled its wings in the tea auctions of Assam.
Named after the swarms of butterflies that enveloped the garden in which it was produced, this rare tea was the cynosure of all eyes on Tuesday.
Seven years after the golden butterfly was first produced by Dikom tea estate in Dibrugarh district of Upper Assam, belonging to Rossell Tea, it fetched the highest price in auctions in the country here on Tuesday.
One kilogram of the golden butterfly was sold by J. Thomas in sale 33 and bought by Assam Tea Traders of Guwahati for Rs 75,000.
Orthodox teas can be bid only upto Rs 75,000.
It was Harmutty which first got Rs 22,000 for its golden tips, followed by Manohari which got Rs 50,000 for its gold tea and Maijan golden tips tea for Rs 70,501.
All these are specialty teas and are produced in very small quantities.
Superintending manager of Dikom tea estate, Samar Jyoti Chaliha, told The Telegraph that the tea was first named in 2012 during a visit by people from Fortnum and Mason, an upmarket department store in Piccadilly, London, to the garden.
“When we first made this tea, it was marked by the presence of a swarm of butterflies in the field,” he said.
“Only soft golden tips go into making this rare and special tea. Hence the name golden butterfly, which reflects the meticulous care and attention to crop husbandry in Dikom’s tea fields that result in the surreal experience of walking amongst the tea bushes surrounded by butterflies,” he said.
“The timing is very important when the tea is produced. It is for a week in June when quality is at its best,” he said, adding that the tea is produced when there is harmonisation of a number of factors.
“It is difficult to say whether this tea will be produced next year or not,” he added.
“We saw a lot of yellow butterflies during that time and as the tea was golden, we named it accordingly,” he said.
“The flavour is extremely mellow and like sweet caramel,” he said.
He added that 8kg of the tea was made, of which one kg was selected for sale and this tea is the result of quality standards set by the garden in the last two decades.
“An exotic tea is judged by its aroma, taste and colour and this tea is characterised by its extremely mellow and sweet caramel flavour that matches the exoticness it deserves, said Lalit Kumar Jalan, the owner of Assam Tea Traders.
The website of Rossell Tea said the history of Dikom can be traced back to Assam’s medieval era.
The local rulers of Bodo-Kacharis discovered that the water of Dikom was unique, being sweet and tasty.
Thus the rulers named the place Dikom. Di or doi, in Bodo language means water.
“Every cup of Dikom tea has a sweet after taste. The sweetness is unique to teas produced by this estate,” the website said.
Dinesh Bihani, the secretary of the secretary Guwahati Tea Auction Buyers Association, said, “The GTAC is giving an opportunity to all the sellers who want to sell their teas at remunerative prices. The best teas are always in good demand and the buyers are always ready to pay a handsome price.”