New honey tea sells for Tk 3,100 a kg
Shahbazpur Tea Garden in Barlekha upazila of Moulvibazar district has recently introduced a new variety called honey tea.
It is made by infusing English BT-2 tea leaves with natural honey, similar to that of the ever-popular Earl Grey variety which is made combining the same leaves with Italian Bergamund flowers.
"Besides, it is not necessary to mix the ingredients with sugar for consumption as the drink is naturally sweet," said Md Rashidul Islam, deputy manager of Sabazpur Tea Company who came up with the new variety.
Its official entry to the domestic market was marked by the purchase of one kilogramme (kg) for Tk 3,100 by Alamgir Tea House at an auction centre in Sreemangal.
The garden also produces varieties popular abroad such as white tea, yellow tea and rose tea, according to Islam.
Lemon tea, world-famous matcha tea and Japanese sencha tea were also auctioned while the Earl Grey variety was sold at a Chattogram auction house.
The white tea sold for Tk 4,000 per kg, lemon tea Tk 2,420, matcha tea Tk 1,500, sencha tea Tk 2,500, orthodox tea Tk 750 and green tea Tk 1,300 to Tk 2,500.
"I took this initiative in an effort to spread modern gardening traditions all over Bangladesh," said Islam, who is also an internationally certified tea sommelier.
Regarding what makes this new type of tea special, Islam said his main motivation was its health benefits which was much needed amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"'By adding natural honey to tea leaves rich in antioxidants, the tea will help consumers boost their immunity," he added.
Islam went on to say that the tea bears a distinct aroma and flavour of the honey used.
And although the drink bears resemblance to green tea due to having similar production processes, honey tea is a standalone product, he said.
Albeit a bit expensive for ordinary consumers, the tea was not developed with profit in mind.
However, that is not to say that the variety is not profitable and so, Islam plans to continue his efforts to bring new types of special teas to Bangladesh.
"Our efforts are to give the gift of innovation to the people of the country," he added.
Helal Ahmed, managing director of Sreemangal Tea Broker which ran the auction on June 23, termed the prices "good".
Md Riyam Chowdhury, owner of Asian Tea House which bought lemon tea and matcha tea, said there was good demand for the two in the tourist hub of Sreemangal.
Jahar Tarafder, member secretary of the Tea Planters and Traders Association of Bangladesh, said this was the first time that five new varieties of tea were auctioned off at the same time in Bangladesh.
"There is a great demand for yellow tea at home and abroad. If this type of tea is produced commercially in the country, it will be possible to earn a lot of foreign exchange," he added.