HUNWAL - F.B.O.P. - 2nd Flush
(Estate Black Tea)
Country of Origin: India
Region: Assam - Golaghat
Grade: FBOP (Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe)
Attitude: up to 2500 feet above sea level
Cup Characteristics: A tremendous tea with an excellent malty character and a bright flavory golden liquor,
Infusion: Very bright and golden coppery
Ingredients: Luxury black tea.
You can literally taste the history in a cup of Hunwal’s exceptionally produced tea. The Estate, located on the south bank of the Brahmaputra River in upper Assam saw it’s fair share of events during the last century, many of these before, during and after WWII. King George VI, father of Queen Elizabeth and Governor of India from 1936-47, (Governor of India was an old Colonial title,) stayed on the Estate during a visit just before the war. Estate rumor still maintains that the King preferred a FBOP, brewed strong, with a dash of milk and a small spoon of sugar. Unfortunately, the leisurely pace of the George’s visit would be entirely turned upside down once the war began in earnest.
The fact that Assam bordered Burma placed it in the unfortunate position as a potential target by the Japanese Imperial army (Burma had been a British colony but was conquered by the Japanese.) Large garrisons of British soldiers were subsequently stationed in the area in order to repel a possible invasion, which luckily didn’t materialize. The soldiers made their mark on the region in the form of the Ledo Road, a supply road constructed to link Assam to Kunming China. The road was built to allow Western allies to supply China in its war against Japan after the Japanese took the older Burma Road. Remnants of the Ledo Road, such as bridges and road dividers can still be seen when driving in the vicinity of Hunwal Estate. Later on in history, China launched an attempted invasion of India via the Assam valley in 1963. Luckily for India, pressure from the world community at large caused the Chinese to cancel the invasion after only one day.
Throughout it all, tea planters and pluckers grew and produced quality black teas. History is visibly evident everywhere you look on a visit to the Estate today. At the foot of every tea patch is a signpost indicating the date it was planted. Looking at the dates and thinking about what happened over the years is in amazing experience that stays with you as you taste the day’s production from various sections of the Estate.
Hunwal’s reputation for producing Orthodox teas is as rich as its heritage. FBOP and GBOP. What’s the difference between the two? FBOP, (Flowery Broken Orange pekoe) is a tippier version of GBOP (Golden Broken Orange Pekoe) and therefore slightly milder in the cup. The tea produces a delicately astringent liquor with flavorful layers of malt. These characteristics make Hunwal FBOP excellent on its own or with a dash of milk. Raise a cup to the past!
Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 teaspoon of tea for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea). Even though milk and a dash of sugar help capture the malty character of this tea, it is perfectly acceptable to consume this tea ‘straight-up’