Country of Origin: India
Region: State of Assam - Golaghat district
Grade: FBOP (Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe)
Altitude: 400 feet above sea level
Cup Characteristics: Behora’s location and soil give a wonderful full-bodied flavor. The astringency confirms that it is made during June – the top growing month for quality Assam tea.
Infusion: Bright and tending coppery
Ingredients: Luxury black tea
Behora Estate in the Golaghat district of Assam is on one of the most fabled in the region. Like all of Assam’s estates, the lives of the planters that call Behora home are filled with solitude, excitement and constant adventure. Whether it’s battling poisonous snakes like the Banded Crait or Black Cobra or responding to plucker’s reports of wild Bengal Tigers, there is always something to keep you on your toes. (And that’s before any talk of producing tea!) Life on Behora has always been this way. Many years ago a planter wrote of the “tea” life in a poem entitled The Tea Planters Poem. In it he wrote:
To Planter Friends I lift a glass
To you, who've kept alive
The memory of Planters past
Across dark moors of time…
And to the Trade that bears the tea name
My sisters and my brothers
I'd rather be a Tea man in your eyes
Than an accountant in any others.
Hear! Hear! So, what makes the life of a planter on Behora so interesting, other than the snakes and tigers? Well, there are also the Rhinos. Behora lies in close proximity to Kaziranga National Park, founded in 1905 at the behest of Mary Victoria Leiter, wife of then Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon. The park is home to the world’s largest herd of Rhinoceri, a testament to the ecological preservation of the area. From time to time the Rhinos have been known to cross onto Estate property, doing quite a number on tea bushes and other surrounding fauna as they do. Still, as evidenced by the poem, living with these diversions is by many counts preferable to sitting behind a desk.
There is another upside to the abundance of wildlife surrounding Behora. It is a sure sign that conservation efforts in the district are working. With this in mind, Behora’s, management takes great care to ensure that portions of land are left open for birds, monkeys and other animals. The same care goes into selecting the two leaves and a bud that go into Behora’s teas. This June production FBOP is a tremendous example of the best Assam has to offer. Well graded with an incredibly neat appearance, this is one cup that makes us glad we’re Tea Men and Women too!