Donyi Polo pekoe white hits record price at GTAC

Donyi Polo pekoe white hits record price at GTAC

Pekoe white leaves from Donyi Polo garden

Guwahati, Sept. 6: Pekoe white from Arunachal Pradesh’s Donyi Polo tea garden today sold for Rs 12,001 to Hyderabad-based Bhagyalaxmi Tea Company at Guwahati Tea Auction Centre (GTAC).

This is now the best price for tea at the GTAC.

Donyi Polo, which already had the highest price in the GTAC, has now got the highest price to its name, courtesy white tea.

This was the first time that Bhagyalaxmi Tea Company was buying white tea and they wanted the best. The tea was bought by Vedanta Tea Company of Guwahati for Bhagyalaxmi Tea Company. It was sold by Contemporary Brokers and the total quantity was 5.7kg.

The bidding started at 8.53am and was over in two minutes. Six buyers participated in the bidding which started at Rs 4,500. It went up to Rs 10,001 and finally ended at Rs 12,001.

White tea was discovered during the Song Dynasty regime in China (960-1279AD) and is known to be one of the most delicate tea varieties as it is minimally processed. It is harvested before a plant’s leaves unfurl fully with the young buds still covered by fine white hairs, hence, the name white tea. During that time, common people were not allowed to drink white tea and it was enjoyed exclusively by the emperor and his court.

These buds and unfurled leaves from the newest growth on the tea plant are handpicked and then quickly and meticulously dried. The leaves are not allowed to oxidise after being plucked when compared to the process for green or black tea production.

Himanshu Gupta of Vedanta Tea Company bought the tea for his client, who he said was happy with the tea and said price was not a factor. “There was tough bidding and finally it was over at Rs 12,001,” he said.

Bharat Choudhary of Bhagyalaxmi Tea Company said they had never seen such tea before and wanted it at any cost. “The liquor was light and pleasing,” he said, adding they will be promoting white tea in Hyderabad. “The Hyderabad tea market is for all types of tea and if there is quality, there is no price limit,” he said.

Manoj Kumar, senior manager of Donyi Polo, said he was shocked to hear the price realisation for the white tea as this is more than what the garden gets by selling privately. “The company’s top management has encouraged me to innovate and given me the best possible exposure to the tea world. In fact, French gourmet tea company Mariage Frères based in Paris has supported us by placing an order for 60kg of white tea after tasting and laboratory analysis. Our knowledge partners from Japan and the eastern Himalayas have helped us a lot by sharing knowledge in field of speciality tea. I would like to mention Swashat Dutta from Contemporary Brokers who has done a good job of marketing our speciality tea,” he said.

Satyanjoy Hazarika, managing director (tea) of Contemporary Brokers, told The Telegraphthey are developing a platform for speciality tea and Guwahati can be a speciality tea hub.

Priyanuj Dutta of GTAC said, “This shows that the auction market is very competitive. It shows that getting a good price is no problem at the GTAC if the quality of tea is good. We have already been encouraging speciality teas and will continue to do so,” he said.

Donyi Polo garden is situated in East Siang district and belongs to Siang Tea and Industries Private Limited and is 600km from here. It plants tea on 420.94 hectares of land.

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