L.N. Revathy

Coimbatore, March 9

THE stage has been set for the first speciality tea auction, set to take place at the Coonoor Tea Trade Association, on March 12.

The event titled `Nilgiri Tea Styles 2005' is being organised by the Nilgiris Planters Association (NPA). The Tea Board Chairman, Mr N.K. Das, is expected to inaugurate the event.

Planters and buyers, who have been waiting for at least two months now for the event, seem to be the most excited lot. Unique teas grown on the Nilgiris mountain slope with a distinguishable flavour are expected to be on offer. These delicate teas command some of the world's highest auction price.

Speaking to Business Line, the NPA Chairman, Mr T.G.B. Pinto, said some 4,500 kg of speciality teas were finalised for the sale catalogue.

The offer would include 40 speciality-grade orthodox and three speciality-grade CTC teas such as black , white and green teas, silver tips and golden tips among others.

"These premium teas could fetch anything between Rs 300 and Rs 3,500 a kg," he said.

NPA is planning to organise Speciality Tea Auction once a quarter, henceforth.

"The March 12 auction has evoked good response among buyers in India and abroad. This could trigger planters hopes and motivate them to produce some of the best teas in the world," Mr Pinto said.

He said planters were now reverting to orthodox tea production. "This trend has quickened in the past five years as factories re-tool and produce some top-line teas in the world."

Among others, two Japanese buyers from Kolkata are expected to participate in the event.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 10, 2005)
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