History of Tea Production in Bangladesh
As a vital tea-producing country, Bangladesh has acquired the position of the world’s 10th largest tea grower. In the Bengal region, the tea industry started its journey during the British period. In 1839, the then East India Company commenced the tea trade in the hilly regions of Assam and Sylhet. In the Greater Chittagong, Tea cultivation was initiated in 1840. After several years of research, Commercial cultivation of tea started in 1857 from Sylhet’s Mulnicherra Tea Estate.
Currently, Bangladesh has 167 commercial tea production estates. What is more? The world's many largest working tea plantations are available here. The tea industry of Bangladesh accounts for about 3% of global tea production. Above 4 million people work in this industry and 75% of the tea laborers are women.
Tea Industry in Bangladesh: An Overview
Tea is the 2nd major exported crop of the country that accounts for 1% of the national GDP. Currently, this industry is dominated by a handful of Bangladeshi conglomerates, counting M. M. Ispahani Limited, James Finlay Bangladesh, Kazi & Kazi, Transcom Group, Duncan Brothers Bangladesh Limited Orion Group, Abul Khair Group, etc.
The highest tea production in the country was recorded at 63.85 million kilograms in 2012. In Bangladesh, more than 56,846 hectares of land are utilized for tea cultivation, which is a significant improvement from 28,734 hectares of land in back 1947. The government is promoting the small-scale tea producers of Chittagong Hill Tracts and other places of the country to strengthen the tea industry.
At present, Bangladesh has tea gardens in several districts. And, Moulvibazar District occupies the lion’s share of the tea plantations of the country. The other major tea-producing districts of Bangladesh include Habiganj, Sylhet, Chittagong, Rangamati, Panchagarh, Brahmanbaria, etc.
Top Tea Brands in Bangladesh
Ispahani Mirzapore Tea
Ispahani Mirzapore tea – owned by Ispahani Tea Ltd. – won the prestigious 'Best Hot Beverage Brand (Tea) Award 2020' for the 6th successive years. Furthermore, this brand acquired the 3rd position in the 'Overall Best Brand' category among the entire local and multinational tea brands in the ceremony Best Brand Award 2020.
Ispahani Mirzapore is the most admired tea brand of Ispahani Tea Ltd. This brand's best-selling products are ‘Mirzapore Best Leaf’ and ‘Mirzapore Double Chamber Tea Bags.’ The mind-blowing aroma and exclusive taste of this beverage have won the hearts of millions of people around the country. Besides the ‘Ispahani Mirzapore Tea’, Ispahani is the owner of two other tea brands, Blender's Choice Premium Tea and Zareen Premium Tea which are also popular in Bangladesh.
Since 1820, the Ispahanis have been involved with the tea industry in South Asia. Ispahani Tea Ltd. owns four tea gardens. Among those, three gardens including Mirzapore, Ghazipore, and Zareen are based in Moulvi Bazar, Sylhet region; while another garden, ‘Neptune’ is located in the Chittagong region. These gardens produce around 4 million kg of teas per year.
Capturing 50% of the national branded tea market, Ispahani Tea Ltd. acquires its position among the top tea trading companies in Bangladesh. What is more? Ispahani is the key player in the domestic tea market of the country, holding about 80% share of the branded tea-bag market.
The Ispahani Mirzapore tea sells at a premium price at the Chittagong Tea Auction. The other Ispahani tea gardens (Ghazipore, Zareen, and Neptune) also constantly claim their positions in the list of the top 10 tea gardens in Bangladesh that achieve the highest auction price.
KK (Kazi & Kazi Tea) and Teatulia Tea
If you are looking for an internationally-certified organic tea grower, pick the Kazi & Kazi Tea. Their tea garden is located at Tetulia, in Panchagarh – the northernmost district of Bangladesh. This heavenly place is only 50 km away from Darjeeling. This company grows organic teas for both local and overseas markets.
From August 6, 2000, Kazi & Kazi Tea Estate Ltd. started its journey of tea tree plantation by acquiring virgin lands that had never before been utilized for cultivation. Following extensive research as well as the assistance of the Bangladesh Tea Board, this tea trading company grew a large tea garden that produces the finest quality tea. In 2006 this tea trading company entered the local market of Bangladesh with the brand name ‘KK Tea.’
KK Tea is one of the top valued teas in the Chittagong tea auction. This brand produces top-quality organic tea. In the cultivation process, KK applies on-site produced bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides using natural and organic materials. It grows both Orthodox (loose-leaf tea) and CTC (Crush, tear, curl) organic teas for the local and international markets.
KK Tea is renowned for its herbal tea that preserves the essence of 100% organic ingredients. You can choose herbal tea from diverse flavors including Lemongrass, Ginger, Tulsi, etc. The Black tea is available in several flavors such as Black Tea, First Flush Tea, Bengal Breakfast Tea, etc. The flavors of Green Teas include Jasmine Green tea, Ginger Green Tea, etc.
Besides these, Kazi & Kazi Tea Estate Ltd owns another tea brand called ‘Teatulia’. This international organic tea brand from Bangladesh was founded in 2000. Targeting the overseas markets, this brand produces some special kinds of teas such as Peppermint Tea, White Tea, Oolong tea, Neem Necter Tea, etc. The Teatulia tea is sold in foreign countries, like the USA, UK, Japan, Germany, China, etc. Teatulia is grown at the Teatulia tea garden through natural farming methods.
Fresh Premium Tea
Fresh Premium Tea is one of the best tea brands in Bangladesh. This brand is owned by Meghna Group of Industries (MGI) – one of the largest prominent conglomerates in Bangladesh.
MGI grows a wide variety of teas for local and overseas consumption. Fresh Premium Tea offers a unique garden-fresh taste with organic flavor, bright liquor, and nice color. The blend is produced from the finest tea leaves that are carefully picked from the finest tea gardens.
If you are a fan of green tea, try the Fresh Premium Green Tea. This special tea is blended from green tender leaves that are cautiously hand-plucked. Enriched with organic mineral composition and antioxidants, this green tea bestows a refreshing taste with a natural aroma.