If we were to ask you whether you have heard of ‘Assam’ tea or ‘Darjeeling’ tea – the answer is highly likely to be ‘of course’!
But, have you heard of Meghalaya tea? A tea which matches, if not excels the Darjeeling tea in taste and flavor? This tea is waiting to be discovered by the larger population of India, especially by the tea connoisseurs!
If you are a tea lover who looks for quality, it is time to look for Meghalaya tea! Yes, it may seem like we are biased when we say this, but we bring you what we heard and gathered through field visits and meeting with experts.
Potential found 200 years ago
Tea is a relatively a new entrant to Meghalaya. The British had identified the potential in Meghalaya for tea cultivation close to 200 years ago. In fact, it was in the first half of the 19th Century that the East India Company had sent a prospecting team and their report was very favorable. Somehow, no action was taken and it was only after a visit in 1974 by members of Tea Board of India that this idea was moved forward.
Trial plantation of Meghalaya tea started in 1977
Nurseries were established from 1977 onward. Tea varieties that would suit this region were selected from Assam and Darjeeling. The very next year the seedlings were transplanted to experimental gardens at Umsning, in the Ri Bhoi District; Tebronggre, in the West Garo Hills District; and Riangdo, in the West Khasi Hills.
Private tea gardens encouraged
The quality of the output was excellent. This was exciting news and the Govt. of Meghalaya encouraged private tea gardens to come up. What most people do not know is that tea cultivation has now expanded to all reaches and corners of the beautiful hills and plains of the Meghalaya. More importantly, Meghalaya tea is beginning to get noticed in India and abroad for its rich and fragrant aroma and lovely flavor. Yes, getting noticed, but not by the larger population. Many of us are not aware of it, is it not?
Why the extra flavor
Reasons for special flavor and taste are twofold. One, Meghalaya tea grows in elevations of over 1,500 m.
Many high-quality tea plants are cultivated at elevations of up to 1,500 m (4,900 ft) above sea level. While at these heights the plants grow more slowly, they acquire a better flavour says Wikepedia
Two, the tea is from plantations on virgin, pristine land. And, new areas are added. In a way, thanks to the British not exploiting this area when they identified it, the present plantations in Meghalaya are young and provide the best quality tea.
Meghalaya tea certified organic
In these days when people are looking for organic produce, MegTea, a brand processed and marketed by the MEG Mini Tea Factory a part of the Tea Development Centre of the Govt. of Meghalaya is certified organic.
MEG grows green tea, oolong and black teas and the annual production is over 5000 Kgs. What is unique in Meghalaya is that private tea gardens are owned by small farmers and all of them are encouraged to use only organic means of cultivation.
Making a difference to the lives of farmers
There are many inspiring stories that we have heard about how cultivating Meghalaya tea has helped a number of families, how a tea association of 70 farmers is ready to produce one of the best quality tea in the world! We will bring you more on these real life stories.
Zizira will be bringing you quality tea blends and other natural and healthy products of Meghalaya.
Would you like to know more about the unique produce of Meghalaya? Contact us.
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