Tea Gardens, Sylhet



Sylhet Tea occupies a place of pride for the whole of Bangladesh. The aroma and taste of Sylhet orthodox tea is unparalleled in the world. The area has over 150 tea gardens including three of the largest tea gardens in the world both in area and production. Nearly 300,000 workers are employed on the tea estates of which over 75% are women. Employers prefer to engage women for plucking tea leaves since they do a better job and are paid less than the men. The area around Sylhet is traditional tea growing area. The picturesque Surma Valley is covered with terraces of tea gardens and lush green tropical forests. Srimangal is known as the tea capital of Bangladesh and for miles around one can see the green carpet of tea gardens on the hill slopes. The Sylhet Tea industry is the mainstay of the economy up in the hills and provides a rewarding life to its workers by way of a steady livelihood and other facilities like housing, statutory benefits, allowances, incentives, creches for infants of working monthers, children's education, integrated residential medical facilities for employees and their families and many more.

A visit to the tea plantation in Sylhet is a memorable experience. The gardens are relics from the days of the British Raj. The plantations were started by the British and the manager still live in white timber homes as they did in those days. The bungalows stand on huge beautifully maintained lawns and the service and lifestyle is pretty much unchanged. A relatively new area that has come under tea cultivation is the sub-Himalayan terrain of Panchagarh. The soil and climate is highly favorable for growing tea here. In fact this area is contiguous with Assam and Bengal in India where tea has been grown for decades. Beginning with only 300 acres of land in 2000, the cash crop is now being cultivated on over 3,500 acres in Tentulia, Sadar and Atoari upazilas of Panchagarh. It can be expanded to ultimately cover about 60,000 acres.

The humus content in the soil here is more than in the traditional tea-growing areas of Sylhet. The tea produced in Panchagarh is supposedly much better in quality than that of Sylhet. Several nurseries have been set up in Panchagarh and Thakurgaon to supply high quality saplings to the tea gardens. This promises to be a good avenue of employment for the locals and chances of increased exports of tea. As of now Bangladesh exports tea to Pakistan and Russia. This may soon reach wider markets and become everyone’s cup of tea. 'Tea tourism' is the latest concept being popularized in Bangladesh. The tourists are encouraged to stay in tea garden Bungalows with all amenities during which apart from enjoying serene atmosphere of tea garden they can also see the tea manufacturing process and the unique culture of tea garden. Nature walks, tea plucking session, trekking, rafting and golf is also on offer.

Different types of Sylhet Tea:

Black Tea:  Black tea accounts for over 90% of the tea consumption in the western world. During the production process of black tea the leaves are changed substantially, allowing the characteristic flavors of black tea – ranging from flowery to fruity, nutty and spicy – to emerge.

Oolong Tea:  Also known as partially or semi-fermented tea, the oolongs have some of the qualities of both black and green tea. At their best, oolongs are beautiful, full-bodied tea with a fragrant flavor and fruity, sweet aroma.
           
Green Tea:  Green tea, for centuries the beverage of choice in Asia, is rapidly gaining popularity in the western world. Its natural aroma and widely acclaimed health benefits make green tea appealing to both the tea lover and previously non-tea drinker. When preparing green tea, it is important to use water below the boiling point and to carefully watch the infusion time to avoid bitterness.

White Tea:  White tea is the most delicate of all tea; the finest varieties are appreciated by tea connoisseurs for their unmatched subtlety, complexity and natural sweetness. The production of the most delicate white tea consists of only two steps: Steaming and drying. The absence of withering, rolling and oxidation leaves the appearance of the leaves essentially unaltered.

Blended, Flavored & Scented Tea of Sylhet:

Blended Tea: Earl Greys, Breakfast & Afternoon Blends, Russian Caravan Tea and Lapsang Souchons.

Flavored Tea: Flavored Black Tea, Flavored Oolong Tea, Flavored Green Tea.

Scented Tea: Jasmine, Litchee and Rose Tea.

Seasonal Blends: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter & Holiday Blends.
Posted By: ABC Task