HUNWAL - G.B.O.P. - 2nd Flush
(Estate Black Tea)
Country of Origin: India
Region: Assam - Golaghat
Grade: GBOP (Golden Broken Orange Pekoe)
Attitude: up to 2500 feet above sea level
Cup Characteristics: Hunwal is regarded as one of the top Assam tea estates. The superb growing conditions make this GBOP coppery bright with astringency.
Infusion: Very bright and golden coppery
Ingredients: Luxury black tea.
Throughout India, spirituality is given great prominence in day-to-day life. Priests and monks can be found everywhere, the ubiquitous cows, sacred to Hinduism are found throughout the country and religious blessings are bestowed on everything from new homes to new businesses. In the tea fields of Assam it is no different. One of the more interesting examples of this is the ceremony known as puja, the blessing of new tea plants.
Whenever a new plot of tea is planted, prayer offerings are given in reverence to Brahma, the Hindu god of creation and namesake of the Brahmaputra River that bisects the province. (Brahmaputra literally means son of Brahma.) The river is highly regarded by the Assamese and is responsible for the perfect climactic and soil conditions for growing tea. As such, prayers are given to ask for good rooting, a continued crop and high yield.
The ceremony centers around seven lucky plants that are carried in round baskets to the new plot by the tea pluckers. Before the lucky seven plants are placed in the earth, one lone tea plant is placed near the entrance to the plot. Surrounding this lone plant are laid five betel leaves. (Betel is a leaf plant that is commonly chewed like tobacco.) Chickpeas and a selection of syrupy sweets are piled on top of the leaf and a stick of incense placed beside it. While the incense burns and prayers are offered, holes are dug for the seven tea plants. The new plants are then planted in the holes and the chickpeas and sweets are passed around to all in attendance - everyone from the Estate Manager to the children of the tea pluckers. As the plants are tamped into the earth, the crowd applauds, praising Brahma’s name.
One can imagine many of such puja ceremonies taking place at Hunwal Estate during its more than 100 years of history. It must be so, for Hunwal’s consistently excellent product can attest to the power of prayer. This orthodox style GBOP is one of the finer examples of the Estate’s output. The leaf is well graded and nicely twisted offering a bright liquor with deep notes of malt and layers of astringency. The rich flavorful cup is excellent with a dash of milk and is the perfect companion to a traditional English breakfast. Raise cup to Brahma today.
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’