Assam has potential to produce purple tea
Assam can emerge as the only place in the world after Kenya to become a producer of health-rich purple tea, a senior scientist and tea expert in the Tocklai Tea Research Institute has said
Currently, Kenya is the only country that produces unique purple tea which fetches three to four times the price of black tea and has established both a domestic as well as export market. Tocklai Tea Research Institute (TTRI)’s senior advisory officer (principal scientist) Pradip Barua said, “Assam has tremendous potential to produce purple tea, as it is the tea of the future as far as health benefits are concerned. Besides, such tea bushes are still found in the state”.
The clone TRFK 306/1 for purple tea of Kenya was originally from Assam and wild bushes of the tea have been found in the hilly forested areas of Karbi Anglong district and Longai area of Cachar district in Barak Valley while there was also possibility of its presence in some areas of Upper Assam, he said.
“The germplasm collection at Tocklai has purple tea plants, commonly known as ‘ox blood’,” Baruah said. Purple tea has been found to have a host of medicinal properties and is rich in anthocyanins and contains lower catechins and caffeine, is high in antioxidants that provide anti-cancer benefits and improve vision, lower cholesterol.
The planting material for manufacturing purple tea was selected from the germplasm stock of Tea Research Foundation of Kenya and was released as TRFK 306 in 2011 to the planters for commercial cultivation, he said.