Calcutta, May 3: Moonlight or white tea plucked from the Goodricke Group’s Thurbo estate in Darjeeling has fetched the best price of Rs 6,876 per kg for the category at a public auction in Calcutta.
Calcutta-based Star Tea Company has bought 38.4 kg of this white tea for the domestic market.
“The tea is an exclusive one. It has a beautiful and strong fruity citric aroma with a lot of silver tips and it meets the criteria demanded by the best hotels in Calcutta such as the Oberoi and Taj. Hence, I paid the price for the quality of tea produced despite the drought-like conditions in Darjeeling at the beginning of this year,” said Rabindranath Dey, owner of Star Tea Company.
Industry veterans feel there is hardly any market for speciality teas in India, especially white tea, except in some of the premium hotels and restaurants.
In 2016, the total production of the Thurbo estate was 2,63,000 kg, of which around 2,000 kg was moonlight tea.
“A special part of the garden has been earmarked for moonlight tea or white tea and the tea that we sold was manufactured in the last week of March,” J.D. Rai, general manager (Darjeeling) at Goodricke Group Limited, told The Telegraph.
This white tea from Thurbo has broken the record made by the same company’s Castleton garden in Darjeeling last year. A total of 36 kg was sold to Spictex International, a Delhi-based exporter, at Rs 6,750 a kg in 2016. Both teas were sold by J Thomas and Company, the largest tea auctioneer in the world.
“We made about eight lakh kg of tea from all our Darjeeling gardens last year, of which about 5,000 kg was moonlight tea,” said Rai.