JORHAT, Assam

A novel purple tea, which has its origin in Assam, made a memorable debut in India at public sale promoting for INRs 24,501 ($335) per kilogram, way over it brings in Kenya which is aggressively advertising and marketing a purple varietal.

The 1.2 kilogram on sale was produced by Donyi Polo Tea Estate in Arunachal Pradesh bordering Assam. It was offered to Dugar Consumer Products on the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre.

Guwahati Tea Auction Buyers Association secretary Dinesh Bihani stated, “This is the first purple tea manufactured in India.” The Guwahati Tea Auction Center, which lately added purple tea to its choices, sells numerous specialty teas together with golden ideas and silver needle.

Purple tea, claimed to have a bunch of medicinal properties, has carved out a distinct segment for itself lately in Kenya within the home market and as an export selection. Hitherto Kenya was the one nation that manufactured purple tea, which garners three to 4 occasions the value of black tea. Farmers there obtain $0.14 per kilogram for black tea and as a lot as $1 per kilogram for purple tea which is anticipated to sooner or later account for about 5 % of Kenya’s tea exports.

Pradip Baruah, chief advisory officer (principal scientist) of Tocklai Tea Research Institute, informed World Tea News that the purple tea clone developed by the Tea Research Foundation of Kenya (TRFK) 306/1 initially from Assam. Wild bushes of the tea have been lately discovered within the hilly forested areas in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district.

Purple tea cup within the center (Photo courtesy of the Tocklai Tea Research Institute)

“These teas were originally not considered good for tea manufactured in Assam,” Baruah defined. “The Tocklai germplasm collection also has purple tea plants which are commonly known as ‘ox blood’,” he stated. Baruah delivered the keynote handle on the International Tea Conference at Karatina University in Kenya final yr. The go to enabled him to research the tea.

Kenya’s purple tea is wealthy in anthocyanins and comprises decrease catechins and caffeine and is excessive in antioxidants that present anti-cancer advantages and enhance imaginative and prescient, decrease ldl cholesterol and blood sugar metabolism. Baruah stated there have been 51 varietals planted in Kenya of which 41 share an Assam heritage and 6 are Assam-China hybrids.

Purple tea was first launched in Kenya round 1903. Early introductions have been of an Assam selection grown from seeds.

“G.W.L. Caine first took tea seeds from Assam and planted them in Limuru, near Nairobi, the Kenyan capital. Those first tea bushes have grown into large trees on what is now Unilever’s Mabroukie tea estate,” he stated.

Baruah stated the Tea Research Institute of East Africa was established in 1951 adopted by the Tea Research Foundation of Kenya in 1980 (now referred to as Tea Research Institute, Kenya). Researchers labored there on growing elite planting cultivars via breeding and choice. “The first set of improved tea clones of Assam variety characterised by general vigour, high density of plucking points and large shoot size were released in 1964,” he stated.

Baruah stated a lot of the practices of tea cultivation and manufacturing and customary phrases utilized in tea plantations have been of Indian and Assam origin. “Almost the entire terminology used in tea production and manufacturing are similar to those of Assam as are some of the commonly used words,” he stated.

Baruah stated Assam has super potential to produce purple tea, as it’s the tea of the longer term so far as well being advantages are involved. The Tea Board India has additionally lately harassed diversification in plantings.

“Assam is very rich in tea germplasm being a place of an original tea variety. Wild teas are still available in Assam and because of natural hybridisation by open cross pollination a large pool of germplasm exists in the state, many of which are still untested and to be collected for preservation,” he stated.

The purple tea developed in Kenya has boosted financial development within the agricultural sector. “It’s time we took a leaf out of Kenya’s tea book,” he stated.

The tea is constituted of vegetation wealthy in anthocyanin, which give the leaves a particular reddish-purple look. Anthocyanin is a flavonoid, which is alleged to present well being advantages via its antioxidant results. Purple tea is alleged to have 15 occasions extra anthocyanin than wild blueberries by weight, that’s 1.5 % in contrast to 0.1 per cent in blueberries.

Senior supervisor of Donyi Polo tea property stated that round 10,000 purple tea leaves are wanted to make a kilo of purple tea. “It tastes like green tea without grassy and vegetal notes,” he stated.

He stated the purple tea vegetation have been present in a forested space in East Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh a number of years again.

Sources: PTI

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