Guwahati: For a change, taste tea leaves plucked from a forest and not from a garden. The leaves plucked from wild tea trees of Manipur have an earthy aroma.

“We believe there will still be more wild tea clusters in the interiors of the Northeast region, considering tea is native to the region along with China. Also, what we have observed is that since ‘wild tea’ grows in wild, there are plenty of natural saplings coming up every year as the wild tea trees shed their seeds during fall,” Nashat Hussain, Co-Founder at Beyondarie, a tea startup in Assam which started operations two years back, told EastMojo.

He said unlike the conventional tea industry, which started centuries ago during the British era, wild tea in India is just a few years old.

“Five years down the line, we want to be one of the established consumer (Health beverage) brands in India from the Northeast. So, our revenue ambition is what it takes to be that,” he said.

The other partners of the company are Rajdeep Bora, Boilal Gangte, Mohit Narru and Dipankar Ghoshal.

Hussain said in Manipur the company has not unlocked even 10 percent of the available capacity.

“We also intend to capitalize the wild teas of upper Assam-Arunachal border (The Singpho area) and even the wild teas of Mizoram,” he said.

These saplings seldom make it in the wild due to being overshadowed by wild shrubs, weeds, and trees or being cut down by natives as it doesn’t hold any value, he said.

“We believe, as natives see commercial value in wild tea, they will participate in ensuring the propagation of more wild teas going forward,” Hussain said.

“However, we have made significant strides considering the time span. We want ‘Wild Tea’ to be an established brand like ‘Assam Tea’ or a ‘Darjeeling Tea’ or a ‘Ceylon Tea.’ However, our approach will be slightly different from our predecessors. We want everyone to know that Wild Tea is not just a commercial venture or industry, but it is something which is exclusive and ‘Good for You & Good for the Planet’,” he said.

On speciality tea, he said that from a market share point of view, specialty tea (non-CTC) commands more than 10% of the market. However, this segment is growing by 3x to 4x vis-à-vis the tea industry and hence the potential is immense, Hussain added.

“Also, the trend across not just in India but the world is leaning towards wellness beverages, which is what we call the speciality segment when we talk of the tea industry,” he said.

He said unlike the traditional belief of ‘speciality tea is for tea connoisseur’, the fact is the younger generation and even people in general (especially post-COVID) are indulging in tea not just for experience or taste but also for health and lifestyle.

Beyondarie’s consumers are mainly coming from the main metros. To be specific, Delhi NCR, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Pune.

Exports are very much on the radar of Beyondarie. “Being less than a two-year-old start-up, it was not possible to spread ourselves everywhere. We wanted to first establish the domestic market and so we could not really build momentum on export until then. However, we have just started exploring the export market and we are getting encouraging responses,” he said.

The company has a good offline presence in Delhi-NCR, Bangalore, and Guwahati and will continue to add more cities as we go forth. Also, we do have a presence in HORECA ( hotels, restaurants and catering) channels as well, he added.

“We have tied up with Barista for North India and we have a presence in a few hotels and cafes across the country as well,” the co-founder of Beyondarie said.

Nashat believes that all its tea variants are different. For simple reason, consumers who like a particular tea will vouch for that, because that variant is unique and special to them, he said.

“From a purely commercial perspective (which may not be the right way), our blended green teas and blended smoked tea do very well, which are in tea pyramids. From a pure Wild Tea, people love our Wild Smoked Tea, Wild White Tea, Wild Oolong Tea, and our Wild Black Tea,” he said.

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