Now, sip a cuppa of 24-carat gold or bhoot jolokia' chilli

Guwahati: At a time when organic tea variety is gaining popularity, an Assam-based startup offers ‘ghost pepper’ and ‘gold’ tea among its 40-odd speciality blends as it is mixing the world’s hottest chilli ‘bhoot jolokia’ and 24-carat edible yellow metal to woo consumers, a company official said.

Innovation in blends is the need of the hour to promote tea in the international and domestic markets as consumers become more health conscious and are looking for special varieties, entrepreneur Ranjit Baruah said.

“We have created more than 40 speciality and luxury blends under the brand ‘Aromica Tea’ and have plans to add more to the list soon.

“Tea flavoured with the ‘bhoot jolokia’ or ‘ghost pepper’ is a fiery innovation in the world for which we have filed an application for patent and are awaiting approval. This variety of tea is brewed for those who like their cuppa spicy, and it has health benefits,” he told PTI.

Elaborating on innovations, Baruah said ‘insulin’ tea with Costus Igneus plant leaves, ‘blue’ tea with Asian pigeonwings flower (Aparajita) and ‘moringa tulsi green’ tea are among its special varieties.

Costus Igneus plant leaves are believed to activate beta cells in the pancreas which in turn boosts the natural insulin secretion in the body and maintains the blood sugar levels, while the ‘moringa and tulsi’ blend helps reduce stress and strengthen immunity, he claimed.

“With extensive research, we have created these unique and popular blends of tea. Our efforts are to promote Assam tea as a healthy drink,” said Baruah who has 20 years of experience in the industry.

He said, “We want to showcase that our tea offers speciality varieties than only CTC.”

Baruah has also ventured into luxury ‘gold’ tea with his entity blending 24-carat edible yellow metal with black tea, which is priced at Rs 2.5 lakh per kg.

The company is focusing on taking these blends to the international markets and has started exports to Australia, Japan, Canada, Sweden, the US, Lithuania, Georgia, the UK and Singapore, he said but did not disclose its revenue from the overseas sales.

The products are also available on several e-commerce platforms across the country, he said.

The startup has recently secured a deal with a US-based company for the supply of value-added tea to Poland, Baruah said.

Corporate gifts and co-branding are other sources of revenue for the company with the Assam government being a major client.

Tea is one the most frequently consumed drink worldwide, and by blending tea leaves with traditional herbs and other ingredients, health and nutritional value can be created, he said while explaining the unique selling point of his products.

While preparing blends, the tea retailer sources “only natural ingredients that have been traditionally used in every household in the northeast region over the years”, he claimed.

“All our tea varieties are produced using organic farming as our primary aim is to ensure wellness of the consumer,” he said.

The northeast region is home to many herbs with immense medicinal properties, which are considered beneficial to cure or control diabetes, migraine and body ache, reduce stress, boost immunity and also act as anti-ageing and anti-cancer elements, Baruah claimed.

All the ingredients are “locally sourced as far as possible”, and more than 250 small tea growers across Assam are being “provided with procurement and market support,” he said.

Baruah pointed out that his startup has been trying to create a platform where the “traditional understanding can be blended with evolving technology and knowledge in the field of tea industry”.

In an effort to reach out to all sections of society, the startup launched its first braille-friendly tea packets in November last year to assist visually challenged people to select their tea.

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