Tea with a twist

Last Updated : 07 September 2015, 18:32 IST

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Having tea is an everyday ‘ritual’ for many people in India. It has become an integral part of life. Various flavoured tea dip bags such as green, lemon etc are available in the market and this has enhanced the number of tea consumers. If things go as planned, a new variety — ‘areca tea’ may soon step into the market.

A youth from Thirthahalli taluk has discovered that tea can be prepared from arecanut. This has brought smiles on the faces of areca growers who were worried about the fluctuating price of the produce. With this discovery, they could heave a sigh of relief.

A pharmacy graduate, Nivedan Nempe from Mandagadde in Thirthahalli taluk has discovered areca tea. He has sent samples of areca tea to the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) in Mysuru for approval. He claimed that he has obtained licence from the Food Safety Standards Authority of India. According to him, permission from CFTRI is not mandatory to release the product and initiate sales. Still, he is waiting for the report to make sure that there are no hassles in future.

“In 2013 the State government banned gutka, whose main ingredient is arecanut, following Supreme Court directions.  This development prompted me to explore the alternate uses of arecanut. I decided to take up research work on areca tea after coming to know that it contains tannin (a type of biomolecule, bitter plant polyphenolic compound that binds to and precipitates proteins) a year ago. It is extracted from processed arecanut which is free from alkaloids that are carcinogenic. I conducted research extensively in a laboratory in my house for about 10 months. I chose to produce tea from areca as it is consumed everyday by people across the globe. So, I knew that finding consumers for the product would not be an uphill task,” said Nivedan, who also holds a postgraduate degree in Manufacturing and Management Technology from an Australian university.

He also expressed his gratitude to Malnad Areca Marketing Co-operative Society Limited (MAMCOS) Managing Director Nagesh Dongre and Mangaluru-based Arecanut Research and Development Foundation (ARDF) for providing useful research reports on arecanut.

Dip it, sip it
Explaining the research, he said it involved six stages of processing. “I have added herbs to it but consciously decided not to include any chemical product. People just have to dip areca tea bag containing tannin in a cup of hot water and have it. Each tea dip bag contains approximately two mg tannin. Research reports have certified that one kg processed areca contains 20 to 30 gm tannin. It is like green or lemon tea. Sugar can be added if required. It would not cause any negative impact on health. In fact, it would prevent diabetes,” he claimed.

He stated that around 1,000 tea dip bags can be produced from 1 kg arecanut and each bag would cost Rs 5. Some MNCs have approached him to promote the product. But he has not yet accepted it. The district in-charge minister Kimmane Ratnakar visited his residence and had a cup of areca tea recently. The minister also hailed his efforts. Nivedan even participated in the five-day global investors’ meet held under the aegis of All India Technical Management Council in New Delhi. He is hopeful that his participation in the event will open new windows for his product.

Nivedan Nempe can be contacted atnivedan.nempe@gmail.com

Published 07 September 2015, 17:41 IST

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