Journey through Bangladesh
The Seven Colours of Tea
Rajat Kanti Goswami
TEA is a cheap drink in Bangladesh. People show their hospitality by offering tea. We have developed a habit of drinking tea. But normally we think of tea as having just one colour.
Layers of colour in a single cup of tea are not something we normally see, but Romesh Gour prepares just that kind of tea in his very special tea stall. It's the Nilkontha Tea Cabin at Srimongol in Moulvibazar district. Romesh Gour, owner of Nilkontha Tea Cabin has developed this quirky preparation of tea. He is also doing research on the preparation of tea. His tea is not just exceptional in colour, but also in flavour. After making the tea- four, five, six or seven separate colours can be seen in layers through the transparent cup.
Romesh opens his tea stall every afternoon. His stall is wide and the sitting arrangement is better than other tea stalls. Hundreds of people from different areas throng to his stall from afternoon to midnight to taste his special tea. This tea is a great attractions for tourists in Moulvibazar, many of who come to see Lawachhara National Park, Madhabkunda waterfalls and the tea gardens.
Romesh Gour came to Srimongol, Moulvibazar in 2000 from Muktagachha, Mymensingh district. He joined as an employee of a store in Srimongol. Within a few years, he opened a tea stall at Kakiabazar under Srimongol upazila. In 2003, he developed a two-colour of tea. This means that two colours were visible in layers in the same cup of tea as long as the cup was transparent. Later, the number of colours was increased to three and four. In 2006, he developed tea with five colours. Romesh did not stop striving for more. Now he is able to prepare a seven-colour tea.
In 2004, Romesh had shifted his tea stall from Kakiabazaar to Ramnagar Monipuripara adjacent to Srimongal upazila town. He gave a name to his tea stall-'Nilkontha Tea Cabin'. Now, Romesh is selling more than 300 cups of multi-coloured tea every day. Nilkontha Tea Cabin is a crowded place so Banglalink has sponsored the decorations. People come here not just for the tea but also because it's a pretty cool hangout spot.
Ramesh Gour, talking to Star Insight, said his son Rajib Ram Gour has also learnt the technique of preparing multicoloured tea, who helps him. Romesh has hired several boys to serve tea to the customers. These boys have no permission to enter the tea preparation room. Romesh said he was now trying to innovate tea with ten colours.
He has fixed the price of each cup and hung a menu on the wall as customers can be informed about price before ordering the cup of their choice. Currently a cup of two-colour tea is priced at taka 20, taka 30 for three colours, taka 40 for four colours, Taka 50 for five colours, taka 60 for six colours and taka 70 for seven colours. Customers seem to be quite happy with the prices.
Romesh has understandably declined to disclose his formula for preparing these unique kind of tea which he has developed all by himself. He does say though, that he uses different kinds of tea leaves including clone tea, green tea and hot water with different temperatures. He also uses a few spices to add taste. He never used any chemicals in the tea. The BSTI (Bangladesh Standard Tasting Institute) and BTRI (Bangladesh Tea Research Institute) has taken samples of his tea to test in their laboratory several times and they deem it safe and good, Ramesh says.
Ramesh said he was a regular payer of his VAT and income taxes. He said his only fear was that his formula might get leaked at some point. He and his son are vigilant about this. No one besides the makers is allowed to enter the tea preparation room.
(R) thedailystar.net 2009