BEHORA (TGFOP) - Assam - 2nd Flush
(Estate Black Tea)
Country of Origin: India
Region: State of Assam - Golaghat district
Shipping Port: Gauhati
Grade: TGFOP (Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe)
Altitude: 400 feet above sea level
Manufacture Type: Orthodox
Cup Characteristics: A classic Assam with a traditional leaf style. Produced during June this tea embodies all the flavor and strength you expect from a top Assam estate.
Infusion: Bright and tending coppery
Ingredients: Luxury black tea
Established in 1908, Behora Estate in Assam’s Golaghat district is one of the region’s newest. (We admit, it’s still pretty old.) As with numerous Indian tea estates, many families living and working there have done so since the day the gates opened. One such resident, a man named Sri Boyo Ghakte, gave our Master Taster a rundown of Behora’s history – they met when Sri was a ripe 105 years old. (The estate provides excellent health care.) His story went as follows:
“The factory was started around 1908 on the banks of the Dhunseri River where the present day clonal nursery exists. This was the best place for a factory because it was easier to dispatch tea via the river route, which was the only way to transport teas. The factory building was made of wood. Leaf was naturally withered and cut into small pieces by men and then grinded in huge wooden bowls.
The tea was dried in big cast iron pans over a slow fire. There was a steamer depot on the banks of the Dhunseri and all teas were shipped from this depot. The present day factory was built around 1935. When they were clearing land for the estate in the early 1900’s the manager used local people. He also used elephants. However the locals would not dare go into the forest that was being cleared because it was full of wild animals. The forest was filled with tigers, a horned rhino and elephants not to mention many varieties of poisonous snakes”
Quite a tale. Since opening, Behora has developed an excellent reputation by consistently manufacturing best of class teas. Its location in Golaghat, besides making it easier “to dispatch tea via the river route”, gives it the benefit of some of Assam’s premiere soil conditions. The quality of its teas has allowed Behora to thrive and grow and today, total land under tea is nearly 5 square miles, producing approximately 3 million pounds of tea per annum. Sri Boyo Ghakte, if he is still alive, now counts himself a member of one of 1200 families, totaling 7700 people, including 1200 estate workers. All are afforded care at the Estate’s excellent hospital and school aged children are educated in one of 3 schools. It’s an incredible place to say the very least. Their TGFOP is just as amazing.
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’
Iced tea-brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water]. Please note that this tea may tend to go cloudy or ‘milky’ when poured over ice; a perfectly normal characteristic of some high quality black teas and nothing to worry about!
The Assam growing district in NE India is the largest in the world.