Born and brought up around the lush green tea gardens of Upper Assam, my morning is never compete without a cup of hot black Assam tea. However, on May 21 — International Tea Day —my morning didn’t begin with my regular cuppa — I was invited to experience something more indulgent and luxurious.
When I reached Ranjit Baruah’s tea boutique, I was served a hot cup of tea, which was brewed for several minutes and had pure gold in it. Yes, you read that right. The cup of tea in front of me had motes of 24 carat gold floating in it.
Introduced to tea connoisseurs of the world on International Tea Day, Swarna Panam — translated as "golden drink" — is India's first tea that has flakes of pure, edible gold in it. This rare Assam black tea has notes of honey, jaggery, and cocoa, and is made from tenderest leaves of the best tea clones, handcrafted to perfection. A sip has a burst of flavour and leaves a sweet aftertaste.
And it doesn't come cheap. It is sold in lots of 100 grams for Rs 25,000.
“Assam tea is famous and popular all over the world. We have to add some value to the product. And that gave us the idea for Swarna Panam," says Baruah, the owner of Aromica Tea.
"We have tried to blend the artisanal orthodox, which is honey-flavored, with 24 carat edible gold for pure indulgence of taste and something exotic. Let people cherish and enjoy pure Assam tea with a golden twist," explains Baruah.
Baruah enjoys a reputation as a master tea craftsman, whose wares are sold at exorbitant prices in the European market. He has especially crafted this "limited edition" tea for International Tea Day. "A sip of this special tea is pure, indulgent luxury," Baruah said.
Swarna Panam comes in a white-gold, ceramic 100-gram jar, packaged with a glass diffuser pot, a double-wall glass cup and a bronze spoon in a jet black box, with a describption of the tea etched in gold.
“We have not thought beyond 100 grams — a kilogram would cost Rs 2.5 lakh," Baruah says, adding, "We have seen exorbitantly priced gold-laced food in Dubai, then why not similarly made tea from Assam?. Luckily. we had buyers lined up even before the launch when we proposed the idea. That encouraged us," Baruah said.
He intends to launch Swarna Panam in Mumbai under the platform of Tea Coffee Association, Mumbai, and GALF, a wellness aggregator. "This is for a better visibility and for the market” Baruah adds.
International Tea Day is observed on May 21 every year and is aimed at creating awareness about safe working conditions for tea workers, fair trade, and a sustainable environment to improve production of tea.
The first International Tea Day in 2005 was a local affair, limited to Delhi. In 2015,the Indian government proposed that the UN Food and Agriculture Organization expand this day globally. The day is observed in May because it is during this time of the year that tea production begins in most countries.
65% non-metro residents buy luxury products compared to 53% in metros: The Voice of Fashion magazine
First Published: May 21, 2022 5:39 PM IST
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