For the first time ever in the history of Bangladesh, white tea – an expensive variety of the popular aromatic beverage – was put up for auction on Monday in Chattogram.
Purba Bangla Brokers Ltd listed only ten kilograms of this tea with the 10th auction of the current auction year, which was sold at Tk2,500 per kilogramme. Padma Tea Supply bought white tea at the auction and plans to sell it for Tk4,000 per kilogramme at the consumer level.
Different broker organisations use this auction system to sell the tea, produced by 167 tea gardens and 5,000 small farmers across the country, to businessmen. The Bangladesh Tea Board organises one such auction in the port city every week.
The National Tea Company had produced ten kilogrammes of white tea at their Champarai Tea Garden. The auction was held at the Chattogram World Trade Centre.
Speaking to The Business Standard, Padma Tea Supply owner Meghnad Hazra said, "For the first time ever, Bangladesh put white tea up for auction. We bought the whole lot for Tk2,500 per kilogramme. After paying VAT, tax and other expenses, the cost will reach around Tk3,500 per kilogramme.
"We will sell the tea for Tk4,000 per kilogramme to the consumers."
Providing more details, he added, "Tourists who visit Sreemangal, usually purchase comparatively better quality tea. We bought white tea to meet tourists' demands. We will market the tea with plain packaging, and not under any brand name."
"Blooming buds of the tea tree are harvested to produce white tea. The buds must be harvested between 5am and 7am and there should be no water on the tea leaves. After collection, the buds are used to make white tea through a special procedure," he said.
Discussing the tea's benefits to the human body, Hazra continued, "White tea has a yellowish colour similar to brass. It is called white tea because it has white fibres."
"It contains a large amount of antioxidants, which maintains youthfulness and eliminates fatigue. The tea also helps to reduce fat," he said.
Responding to a query, Purba Bangla Brokers Ltd's Director Arifur Rahman Shaheen said, "Halda Valley, as well as Kazi and Kazi have been producing a limited quantity of white tea in Bangladesh, but this is the first time the tea was put up for auction."
"It is considered a delicacy among tea connoisseurs. So, it is quite difficult to market white tea commercially in Bangladesh," he added.