Monday, September 7, 2009


Tea as a drink has a wide acceptance. From Queen of England to President of America tea is a welcome drink. Similarly homeless of Britain to Indian residents of below poverty line also love their daily cup of tea. But now world has experienced a different usage of tea. This use is for various product of medicine and health therapy .

Tea is being lately used for colouring of fabric also. Due to antioxidant quality, tea is being used in shampoo, skin care products and even in shaving leather. For the first time I have found shaving leather having tea as an ingredient . This is available in boutique Bath and shower stores. The most value added tea product, however, is now decaf tea. It has much higher value comparative to traditional tea as a drink.This has given rise to a specialised market for tea leaf and tea bush too. In its new application tea formulations are used as health product and in cosmetic application . In these new applications ,more than the tea leaf, tea bushes, branches and trunk of the tree are used generally. A different kind of tree, akin to our tea plant, but are planted and grown much taller mostly in similar climatic zone, of sub Sahara , China and in Australia for extraction of oil.

These plants are akin to our tea plant but grown much taller and even known as Tea Tree . After an extensive research it was found that oil extracted from these tea bushes and trees have produced Tea oil . These oil have found use now in cosmetic products. This is high time for our scientific laboratory to experiment whether tea bushes of Assam could also produce similar oil or not. It is understood that in South India and in China a few entrepreneurs have tried to develop tea oil from the fifty years old bushes also Just before uprooting.

Recently it was established that Tea tree oil is an effective antibiotic and it can help human being to cure skin problems too like acne,herpes, sun burns, blisters etc. According to the recent studies it was found that tea tree oil is also beneficial in curing sickness like cold, cough, soar throat, respiratory problems etc. It strengthens human body with an awesome immunity. And so patient can fight in a perfect way with flu like condition. Till recently there were not much diverse use of Tea. Only research revealed that tribal population used it for medicinal value.

Diverse use of tea would be very helpful for young Assamese tea planters if research could be carried out by our tea laboratories. As the time progress the cultivation of tea alone would not be very profitable for cost of production of tea would go up every day. As the time has progressed due to bad weather condition, cost of fertilizer and increase in human and administrative cost have gone up. If the cost of production continues to go up every year then, It may not possible to profitably run the gardens by most of the planters.

Now a days tea is facing competition not only from cold drinks and natural juices but from chocolate and milk too. The most important competition of traditional tea have come from the " bottled ready to drink tea" itself. Ready to drink have been bottled for sportsperson, parties of youngsters and for those persons who want to rejuvenate themselves for dancing and for partying beyond midnight. These tea are edible bottled drinks made out of tea leaf, and are costly. Yet there is a huge demand as it is marketed as "life style product". Recently tea has been adopted by wine and spirit industry also. In America Vodka and wine made out of tea has been marketed recently. None of these are made of Assam Tea. Mostly these are made from tea produced in Argentina, Ceylon and Papua new guinea. Would anybody from Assam like to try and reap much higher benefit out of tea ? In that event communicate with marketing organisations of USA, Germany and UK for collaboration.Why not start winery in Assam or produce Vodka based on tea leaf. Now a days Polish vodka based on rye and French vodka Grey Goose based on grain are considered top of the line, beating traditional Russian Vodka made out potatoes. Vodka based on tea could be an amazing product too!

The government despite its willingness to support the tea industry may not be able to free the gardens from all taxes and rates. Neither it would be desirable nor possible. Tea industry is the most heavily taxed industry now in the country. The establishment cost would always go up every day and the cost of fertilizer and Electricity would be doubled every five years. A time would come when either small tea gardens manged by individual( like china or south India now) or few very large corporations would be only able to sustain plantation, for the cost of irrigation would also become prohibitive , with the change in climatic condition .

The importing countries of the world now purchase much less tea from producing countries and mix it with various fragrance as the cost of tea has gone up. Even Earl Grey Tea is not pure Assam Tea anymore . It has an aroma of orange in it.Many tea drinking nations have evolved various other fragrance like ginseng, lemon, cantelop, ginger etc. The most recent fragrance used in tea is that of celery.These mixing have been initiated to change the drinking pattern and mainly to change people's drinking habits and for reduction of cost per cup of tea consumed..

Tea tree oil is very popular all over the world and the main reason for this is the high rate of return and low cost of production. It is great value added product for treatment of bacterial, fungal or viral infections are concerned. Since hundreds of years, tribal people living in tribal areas and jungles have relied on tea tree oil as an effective disinfectant. There are many medical benefits of tea tree oil. As far as properties of tea tree oil are concerned people can identify it by its yellow color. It has smell that is similar to nutmeg and green tea leaves. These tall tea Trees are cultivatd in Australia mainly.According a specialist these can be cultivated in Assam , Arunachal and Meghalaya too.

The most demanded traditional value added tea at present is decaffeinated tea and organic Tea. It is a value added product. But in Assam perhaps none are trying to produce decaffeinated tea formulations . The most marketeers in USA and Britain import solution of decaf tea from Germany who are the biggest buyers of Assam Tea. During my conversation with the president of the Harish Tea Company of USA , Mr. Chirayu Baroowah told me that his company imports decaf solution from Germany. From these solution selectively decaf tea are produced and marketed by their company in entire Northern and Southern America. He felt in case decaf formulation technology could be developed in Assam, either through technical hook up with Germans or through development of research locally, the entrepreneurs of Assam could be greatly benefited. Organic tea produced in Assam has created a niche in the world market slowly. Young tea producers of India should make an effort to contact overseas-es technologist for such up gradation of tea product from ordinary leaf product to value added product. Slowly Assamese tea planters should think of diversifying the planting base to other part of the world like Argentina. If Assamese computer and Dot com specialists can make it big in Northern and Southern America why not Assamese entrepreneurs can come out to Australia and South America where Tea Tree are planted now a days for different use. In case alternative use of tea could be taken up by young entrepreneurs of Assam they would be able open an new area of development that might make them millionaire like young IT entrepreneurs.


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