Guwahati: When an Assam tea wins Gold at an international tea event after beating 320 teas from around the world, there is reason for celebration.
Rujani tea, the online brand of Aideobarie tea estate in Jorhat, has won Gold at The Leafies 2023- International Tea Academy Awards organised by the UK Tea Academy. The purpose of The Leafies is to raise the profile of specialty tea and give the producers a connection to buyers to curate exceptional teas. The award ceremony was held on October 26 at the Asia House, in London.
The Leafies celebrate the world’s finest loose-leaf teas and bring primary tea producers exposure to a global tea-focused market.
Ten tea gardens from different tea-producing areas of the world had won gold, including Rujani from Assam and Glenburn Fine Tea from Darjeeling. The tea from Rujani, which won the gold was a Tippy Reserve and the tea from Glenburn which won the gold was Darjeeling Moonshine. Another tea from Glenburn, a Masala Chai, won an award in the highly commended category.
Apart from the gold category, there were five gardens from India included in the highly commended category. These were Turzum from Darjeeling belonging to Jay Shree Tea, Nahorhabi in Assam, belonging to Jay Shree Tea, Mansimble Tea & Estate in Kangra, Tea Studio, a tea factory in Nilgiri and Doke Tea in Bihar.
“Their very special Assam with lots of golden tips (the buds) was amazing – that’s why it won gold,” Jane Pettigrew, Director of Studies at UK Tea Academy and a judge at The Leafies, told EastMojo on the tea from Rujani.
“A lot of the Indian teas we tasted were good but, in each category, we were tasting in order to find the exceptionally good. For example, Glenburn’s Darjeeling Moonlight, Jay Shree’s Assam Nahorhabi and Lochan Tea’s Doke Black: all did extremely well. The Leafies is all about finding the teas with an amazing flavour profile that will make customers think ‘Ah now I understand how great tea tastes’,” she said.
“It’s important to stress that when the panel of judges is tasting all the teas, we know what the tea is but not which company made it. So we judge on the quality of the tea itself – the dry leaf, the wet leaf and the liquor. And each team of judges is headed up by an expert in his or her field,” Jane further said.
Raj Barooah, director at Aideobarie tea estate, told EastMojo- “We are truly honoured to receive and accept this award on behalf of the whole team at Rujani Tea. Tippy Reserve is our pride and joy and receiving “The Leafies“ means the world to us. It’s a testament to the dedication of our tea master and his team back home in Assam.
“Thank you to the International Tea Academy and everyone who’s been a part of this process. This award inspires us to continue making and delivering exceptional teas. Here’s to the future of excellence in artisanal tea from Assam,” he said.
Another interesting tea which was included in the highly commended category was Doke tea from Bihar, a non-traditional tea area. ” On October 26, we got this recognition after 25 years of growing tea in Bihar since 199s8 when it was declared a non-traditional tea growing area by Tea Board of India,” Founder of Doke Tea Rajiv Lochan told EastMojo adding that The Leafies award will greatly help Bihar tea in its further growth and promotion.
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Bihar produces over 45,000 metric tonnes of tea, mostly in the Kishanganj district. The Doke Black Fusion from Lochan Tea was included in the highly commended category.
Doke, nestled in the enchanting expanse of Pothia, Kishanganj, is graced by the gentle flow of the Doke River.
“Located in Bihar, just south of Darjeeling and near the Nepal border, our region has a history steeped in agriculture and marked by persistent poverty. The establishment of our tea estate has not only generated numerous jobs but also revitalized the local economy,” Rajiv Lochan says. Tea has also been identified as one of the seven focus areas by the Bihar government under the Bihar Agri Investment Promotion Policy 2020.
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