Country of Origin: India
Region: Assam, Mangaldai
Grade: FBOP (Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe)
Altitude: 1000 feet above sea level
Cup Characteristics: Malty with a jammy-like flavor best describes this premium tea. The tea is vacuum-packed at the estate capturing the pungent 2nd flush flavor at its peak.
Infusion: Bright and tending coppery
Ingredients: Luxury black tea
Deep in the jungles that grow along the banks of the Brahmaputra, within clear eyeshot of the Himalayas, lies fabled Borengajuli Estate. Borengajuli has long been the talk of the Assam tea trade, and not just because of its picture perfect surroundings, exceptional air and stunning colonial era bungalows, although these certainly don’t hurt its reputation. Rather, Borengajuli made its name via the outstanding tea it produces, the result of a painstaking “natural cloning” process. Some time ago, the nuance and malted character of the resulting teas were considered so fine that Borengajuli was chosen to participate in the pilot project to vacuum pack teas at the Estate level. We’ll examine both the natural cloning and vac-pack process below.
Ask any of the planters at any of the clubs from Guwahati to Pertabghur and they’ll tell you the same thing. Borengajuli’s teas are almost perfect. It wasn’t always so. Many years ago, plucky Estate managers began selecting the finest plants the gardens had to offer. They looked for bushes with higher yields, an abundance of “tip”, superb flavor and better resistance to drought and pests. These bushes were placed in a special nursery and over time, cuttings were made that were nurtured and replanted in the gardens. Gradually, as more and more cuttings grew into full bushes, the estate filled with these “perfect” tea bushes. As a result, Borengajuli is one of the highest yielding estates in terms of exceptional, luxury grade teas. (Note: genetic modification is not a part of the natural cloning process.)
Now, the vacuum packing. Evidently, so impressed were Borengajuli’s upper managers with the Estate’s flavory bright copper cup, that when the time came to experiment with new vacuum packing technology, it was naturally chosen. The general thinking at the time was, if we’re going to go out of our way to preserve flavor with a vacuum, we might as well preserve the very best. The technique involved vacuum sealing the leaf immediately after it came out of the sorter. The result was tea that stayed as fresh as the moment it was manufactured, indefinitely. This fabulous, deeply malted, Assam is extremely rich on the nose and flavorful in the cup.