Food

A sip of bhoot jolokia

An extreme close up horizontal photograph of a ghost pepper, aka Bhut Jolokia, it is one of the worlds hottest peppers weighting in at 1,041,427 Scoville Heat Units, making it 400 times hotter than Tabasco Sauce.Legend has it that it's named ghost pepper because if you eat one you either start seeing ghosts or flat out give up the ghost.

An extreme close up horizontal photograph of a ghost pepper, aka Bhut Jolokia, it is one of the worlds hottest peppers weighting in at 1,041,427 Scoville Heat Units, making it 400 times hotter than Tabasco Sauce.Legend has it that it's named ghost pepper because if you eat one you either start seeing ghosts or flat out give up the ghost.  

A special blend of tea leaves from Assam now has bhoot jolokia in it

Move over chilli tea and civet dropping coffee, because bhoot jolokia is now getting blended in tea leaves. Termed the world’s most notorious chilli, bhoot jolokia is now used to make a ‘deliciously hot’ tea by Aromica tea — a home-grown brand in Guwahati, Assam.

Aromica was established in 2018 by Ranjit Baruah, founding director of Tender Buds Teas & Crafts. A former tea planter with over 20 years of experience in tea plantation and manufacturing, Baruah’s quest to make tea more flavourful and interesting had him working on blending bhoot jolokia with organic tea leaves “in order to get the deliciously hot beverage. We call it the fiery tea,” adds Ranjit.

Everyone talks about bhoot jolokia and the tea leaves of Assam. They are both spoken of individually. No one had tried combining the two most popular products from the State, so Ranjit leapt into action and started working to create the unique tea blend.

A sip of bhoot jolokia

Known by many names in the different parts of the Northeast region, the most common among them, for the chilli which has been rated at 1 million-plus scoville heat units, are bhoot jolokia, bih jolokia, nagahari, raja mircha, raja chilli or borbih jolokiai.

The chilli is cultivated in Nagaland and Assam, and in parts of Bangladesh as well. “We source our green teas from different organic tea gardens in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to support local producers. The chillis, which are grown in farms in Amguri in Sivasagar district of Upper Assam, are pounded in a dheki (an indigenous manually operated pounder),” adds Baruah. He says the tea underwent several trial-and-error sessions before it was brought out. “Everything is done in the backyard of my home in Guwahati. I converted my garage into a little factory, where apart from trials, we also carry out packaging work. I have put my knowledge of 20 years in the tea industry to build a setup that is efficient and hygienic.”

“While creating the blend, it was important to see that we don’t simply sell bhoot jolokia. The tea had to have all the elements of the Assamese tea-drinking tradition. I was sure of what I wanted. When people sip the fiery tea, they should be able to enjoy the aroma, the taste and the look (colour of the decoction). So with a lot of study and work, we have chosen those leaves that give a ruby red liquor when combined with the dried paste of the chilli. If I have to categorise the blend, it will come under ‘exotic speciality blend’, because it is not only organic but also handcrafted,” explains Baruah.

When one gram of the bhoot jolokia blend tea is steeped for 40 seconds, the aroma of both tea and bhoot jolokia has your mouth watering, claims Baruah. The heat is just a teaser, he says, it is the combination of the aromas and the flavour that is a win-win.

People in Assam love their black tea or laal saah with a hint of ginger, so Baruah has infused the gingery flavour into the fiery tea as well.

Currently, Aromica tea has four specialty blends and has applied for a patent for its bhoot jolokia tea. They are all available online at www.aromicatea.com

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 7:15:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/aromica-tea-bhoot-jolokia-tea-assam-tea-ranjit-baruah-amguri-tender-buds-teas-crafts/article31057687.ece

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