At Dh10,558 per kilogram, is this India's most expensive tea?

Badamtam Heritage Moonlight Spring White tea is cultivated at an estate just outside Darjeeling

Badamtam Heritage Moonlight Spring White tea.

Badamtam Heritage Moonlight Spring White tea is produced exclusively for the online tea shop, Teabox, at the famed Badamtam Tea Estate, which was first planted by Christine Barnes in 1858.

Commercial operations at the estate were launched by the Lebong Tea Company from the late 1860s, and it has emerged as a leading producer of prized Darjeeling teas. The estate is situated in the Lebong Valley, 17 kilometres west of Darjeeling town, facing the Himalayas – one reason why it offers some of the best spring teas in the world.

Badamtam Heritage Moonlight Spring White was grown at an altitude of 1,463 metres, on a slope facing Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world, in an area of the estate called the Lama division. Plucked on March 14, the tea is made from fresh spring leaves, which emerge after a long hibernation period, and succulent buds. 

Like almost all other teas, white tea leaves come from the Camellia sinensis plant. The name "white tea" refers to the fine, silvery white hairs that cover the unopened buds of the plant, according to Teabox. In addition to being an "antioxidant powerhouse", a major benefit of white tea is that, when brewed, its leaves have no bitterness or aftertaste.

Badamtam Heritage Moonlight Spring White can be steeped up to four or five times, with each steep offering up a different flavour. The first steep is described as intensely floral, while a second will serve up a more mellow, fruity brew with a pronounced flavour of raw mango.

A third steep will bring out a more sweet vegetal flavour, while a fourth delivers a strong mix of floral-fruity notes. "Never in my 50 plus years of experience in Darjeeling have I come across a tea such as this. With every sip, it's a different experience," says AK Gomden, one of Darjeeling's most renowned planters.

A special box has been designed for this rare blend – and it references the illustrious history of the estate, as well as Teabox’s more modern, minimalist aesthetic. The box comes in regal shades of emerald and blue, with a subtle gold embellishment. The box’s burlap texture references the earthiness of the estate, while a scroll inside tells the unique story of this tea.

"We continue to push the boundaries of design-led marketing when it comes to tea, especially from an experience perspective. India has never sold an F&B product on the world stage at this price, and the excellent presales of this show that both Teabox and the tea industry are coming of age," says Prachi Jain, brand director of Teabox.


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