The Nobel Blend Tea
The tea blended to honor the great warriors of humanity
The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize was significant to both India and Pakistan. Two veteran activists, Kailash Satyarthi from India and Malala Yousafzai fromPakistan, received the award jointly. You may wonder, how the Nobel prize can be related to tea! In literal terms it happened like this.
At the grand banquet of the ceremony, the organisers arranged to serve the guests with one of the finest teas of our time – the Nobel blend tea. And perhaps you may guess rightly – it was blended with a special variety of Assam tea. World’s top tea blenders joined hands to create this exquisite tea blend to make this great occasion unforgettable.
Thus, this iconic Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony had a special connection to Assam. As mentioned earlier, this tea was prepared by a most creative blending of Assam orthodox with Chinese Keemun tea.
Malala and Satyarthi won the Nobel peace prize for their fight against the abuse and exploitation of young people. They won it for the crusade they started for protecting children’s right. Satyarthi is the seventh person from India to win a Nobel Prize whereas Malala Yousafzai the second to win it from Pakistan. She was also the 47th woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Not only that, she became the youngest Nobel laureate in any field, as she achieved this great feat at a tender age of 17 years. The Norwegian Nobel Committee selected Satyarthi and Malala for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize from among 278 nominees, that too was a sort of record!
The criteria behind the award of Nobel peace prize
The Nobel Committee maintains that children must be given access to education. At the same note it also opines that the world community shall have to protect the young generation from all forms of exploitation and abuse. The committee further believes that for a peaceful global development, the world community must protect the rights of their children. In the same vein it appreciated Kailash Satyarthi’s courageous fight for protecting children’s rights. Also, the committee appreciated his efforts to save them from exploitation.
The Nobel Committee lauded Malala Yousafzai for her courage and her fight for girls’ education. The committee termed her efforts as heroic as, for a cause, she even risked her life. The Nobel Committee celebrated the event of a Hindu from India and a Muslim from Pakistan, joining hands for educating the young people and at the same time raising voice against extremism.
The Nobel Committee awarded Satyarthi and Malala on December 11, 2014 with the Nobel peace prize. They arranged a glittering ceremony at the Oslo City Hall in Norway. On the occasion, the committee arranged a grand banquet which had the proud offering of a tea made with the unique Nobel Museum Tea Blend. It was created in honor of the scientist and Nobel Prize creator Alfred Nobel. In history of Nobel prize, creation of a new tea blend exclusively for the occasion was without precedence.
Who and how the Nobel blend tea was created
Well known tea specialist Vfernon Mauris produced the blend in collaboration with the Nobel Museum. The blender earlier created the popular Swedish tea called SO derblandning. Mauris is the managing director of the Tea Center of Stockholm, a company which is based in Sweden. Not to mention, the Nobel Museum, Oslo being the brand owner, sold the tea exclusively. The tea specialist made the blend based on a Chinese Keemun tea which was produced in Qimen County, situated in Anhui Province. He blended the Chinese tea with Assam orthodox.
Thus the master blender created an epic blend, which was not only unique in quality, but also true cosmopolitan in nature. The specialist added the flavor of the finest bergamot which he brought all the way from Italy. You may know, the ever popular Earl Grey Tea also have the flavor of Bergamot fruit. The sweetness of Swedish raspberries and the fresh taste of orange complemented the flavor of this tea blend. Everyone all over the world knows Assam tea for its strong liquoring characteristics. It comes with smooth, fuller body, bright color, briskness and malty aroma. Thus the master blender created the Nobel Tea Blend, an exquisite tea with a gorgeous color and lovely flavor for an out of the world experience!
Chinese legend – Keemun black tea
Like Assam orthodox tea, Keemun is also a famous black tea, all the way from China. Holder of multiple records in various fields of tea production, China first produced Keemun tea long back, in the year 1875. And it became an instant hit in the West. A number of classic blends use Keemun tea extensively because of the fact that, is a light tea with a unique characteristic – stone fruit flavor. Keemun has a slightly smoky notes in aroma and also a gentle, malty, non-astringent taste. It has a classic taste that comes with the hint of an unsweetened taste of cocoa. There are many varieties of Keemun. As you may know, one of the well-known among these, is Keemun Mao Feng. The top varieties of Keemun have an orchid like fragrance. And if that is not all, they also have additional floral notes in the flavor!
About the Assam’s prized tea
The renowned blender used Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (FTGFOP) grade Assam orthodox black tea in making the Nobel blend tea. He collected it from the Mangalam tea estate, which is known for its better quality produces. The creator used this particular grade of Assam orthodox tea for a special reason – its inherent and traditional rich bouquet of flavor. When you blend it with other tea, then also the flavors do not diminish.
You may recall, Assam black orthodox has a whole leaf grade variety known as Orange Pekoe. The planter used a planting material with the name ‘P (Panitola) 126’ to produce this particular Mangalam orthodox tea. P (Panitola) 126 has an excellent tippy character and that is why the orthodox tea producers of Assam mostly prefer this planting material. To add extra punch to the blend, the blender insisted on using only the second flush harvest for the Nobel Tea Blend.
Few words about the producers of the Assam tea
The now famous Mangalam Tea Estate, which belongs to the Towkok group of tea estates, has an area of 117.99 hectare. Mangalam tea estate uses the modern concept of close tea planting which it used to produce this unique tea too. For this, they uproot some aged tea sections first and then plant new tea plants on the sections. The garden has been able to produce some top quality tea using bush plantation with new planting materials. The company markets all its P 126 orthodox teas under Mangalam tea brand. It uses mostly two clonal planting materials, one of the two is P 126 and the other TV (Tocklai Vegetative). The tea estate, planted in 1975-1980, yields around 16-17 kg made tea per hectare. It also has a small factory at Towkok which takes care of its exclusive production needs.
Branding and marketing of Mangalam tea:
You may know that Jay Shree Tea Industries Limited controls Mangalam tea estate. On the other hand, the Birla group owns this company. The Mangalam Tea Estate is situated near the Sonari town of Sivasagar district of Upper Assam. It has three adjacent tea estates under its control. The gardens are Towkok, Mangalam and Manjushree. However it is registered as a separate tea estate with the Tea Board of India.
The company sells about 200 thousand kg of black orthodox tea under the Mangalam brand annually. However, the company markets bulk of its orthodox tea output at Kolkata. The Mangalam orthodox tea commands a price which ranges from Rs. 400 to Rs. 3,000 per kilogram. The estate produces CTC tea also, which they market under the Mangalam brand.
Most of the tea drinkers throughout the world have love Assam CTC tea for its strong liquor and flavour. However this time, Assam orthodox tea has proved its uniqueness after the appreciation it received from tea connoisseurs for the Nobel Museum Tea Blend. This also has brought global recognition to the tea industry of Assam.
Article contributed by Dr. Pradip Baruah
Also see Types of India Tea by the author