Arunachal specialty tea strikes ‘purple’ patch

From Our Special Correspondent

GUWAHATI: A specialty tea variety from Donyi Polo Tea Estate in Arunachal Pradesh has struck a “purple” patch, fetching a price way above its pre-sale valuation at the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre here on Wednesday morning.
Purple tea from the garden, which made its debut in the auctions, fetched a whopping Rs 24,501 during Sale 43.
The tea (1.20kg), valued at Rs 16,000 before the sale, was bought by Guwahati-based Dugar Consumer Products Pvt Ltd and auctioned by Contemporary Brokers Pvt Ltd (CBPL).
Earlier this year, the Arunachal tea garden had fetched the highest price ever at the auctions with its golden needles variety selling for Rs 40,000.
Purple tea is made from plants rich in a type of flavonoid called anthocyanin, which accounts for a distinctive reddish purple appearance. The flavonoid releases antioxidants which is good for health. Besides, the presence of anthocyanin is evident when tea turns purple with a drop of lemon juice.
“My expectations were above Rs 15,000 but didn’t expect Rs 24501. This shows that buyers and consumers are ready to offer any price for specialty tea. Besides, they are aware of the health benefits of anthocyanin-rich purple tea,” Manoj Kumar, the estate’s senior manager, told The Shillong Times on Wednesday.
The purple tea plants were found in a forested area in East Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh a few years back. The tea is mild and tastes like green tea. Around 10,000 purple tea leaves are needed to make a kg of purple tea.
“Here, I have to thank Pankai Wangpan for accompanying us in exploring wild indigenous tea varieties in the jungles of East Siang. Besides I am grateful to Dugar Consumer Products and CBPL for their support,” Singh said, while hoping that the positive outcome would inspire planters and growers to conserve nature selected local varieties..
Donyi Polo, which operates under Siang Tea and Industries Pvt Ltd, was set up in1987. In terms of variety, Donyi Polo has been a revelation. Apart from specialty teas, it manufactures CTC, orthodox, Oolong, green and white teas.
Dugar Consumer Products, which owns the Uphaar brand, is the first tea packer in the Northeast. Sources at GTAC said that the firm, which also has a branch in Ahmedabad, started a blending and packaging unit at Amingaon on the outskirts of the city since the mid-1980s.
“This lot of purple tea will be divided in two parts. Half of it will be at our tea boutique in Ahmedabad for our customers and the other half would be specially packed for delegates at the Vibrant Gujarat 2019 summit,” Rishabh Dugar, proprietor of Dugar Consumer Products told this correspondent.
The trend of speciality teas sold at good prices at GTAC is also being noticed elsewhere in the country and world of late. Experts foresee GTAC becoming a global hub for specialty tea, attracting more business for the centre and global buyers.

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