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Darjeeling tea to give World Cup footballers a 'kick'-start

Last Updated 10 June 2014, 20:11 IST

With just a day to go before the World Cup, Brazil may be alive with Samba beats, beach parties and cuisine from across the world. But the best way to kick-start the season, even for footballers, would be with a steaming cup of the finest Darjeeling tea.

In what is perhaps India’s only representation this football season, industry insiders claim that VIPs attending the FIFA World Cup in Brazil will be enjoying cups of specially exported Darjeeling tea.

The famous Makaibari tea estate in Darjeeling, one of the oldest in the region, will be providing the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi with India’s finest tea. Nestled amidst the verdant slopes of Kurseong, tea leaves from the Makaibari tea estate produce an aromatic golden liquid that is said to trap rays from the sun. Established in 1859 with a garden spanning over 670 hectares, the estate pioneered in organic farming practices in tea trade.

According to officials from the estate, the special tea consignment is being exported through its marketing partner – the England-based Hampstead Tea and Coffee Company – one of the largest tea companies in the world. 

Besides the Royal Camomile and black tea varieties that are headed for Brazil, also making the export list is Silver Tips Imperial, one of the world’s most expensive teas, which costs around Rs 2,400 for just 100 grams.

While the Hampstead Tea and Coffee Company exports tea from Makaibari to 17 countries, this is not the first time it is sending a tea consignment from the estate to a global sporting event. 

“During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the tea garden sent 300 kg of Silver Tips to Beijing. The tea was exclusively distributed to VIP guests there,” an official from Makaibari said.

It is, however, not just Darjeeling tea that has been hand-picked for VIPs at FIFA. Succulent mangoes from West Bengal’s lush green estates in Malda are also being exported to Brazil. 

With the backing of the West Bengal Exporters’ Coordination Committee, the famous Lyngra and Himsagar varieties of mango are expected to find places on VIP tables across soccer stadia in Brazil.

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(Published 10 June 2014, 20:11 IST)

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