Khongea Tea Estate, Assam
"If Darjeeling tea is referred to as the 'Champagne of tea', a good quality Assam tea garden such as Khongea produces the best 'single malt whiskies' of tea."Sudhir Prakash
Khongea is our tea garden in Assam, situated in the upper reaches of the Assam region, on the south bank of the Brahmaputra River. Assam is the single largest tea-growing region in the world, producing great breakfast tea that goes well with milk and is prized for its rich, malty, and robust cup character. The finest Assam tea, produced during the Second Flush, has chunky golden tips. Assam tea’s strong character makes it the perfect base for Chai tea, or as the locals call it, Masala tea.
Although established in the late nineteenth century by two English tea-planting ladies, Khongea tea estate has been managed and owned by the Prakash family for over 50 years.
Sudhir Prakash has been the Chairman of the company for the last 30 years. Under his guidance, and due to his enthusiasm for tea and his close involvement with the Tea Research Association, the Khongea tea factory has set standards for many other Assam tea estates. State of the art machinery has been installed for the production of every type of Assam tea - from black orthodox and CTC to green tea.
A vibrant tea plantation in Assam, Khongea came to the family in the year 1949 - the same year that Sudhir was born. Many of the workers have watched Sudhir and his children grow up and the close affection for the family is very apparent as you wander through the villages and interact with the workers. Alongside Sudhir's 50th birthday in 1999, a Golden Jubilee celebration was organised at Khongea to celebrate 50 years with the Prakash family. Our Khongea Diwas tea festival is celebrated every year in winter. It is a gathering of the Prakash family and all the workers of Khongea Tea Estate who come together and celebrate, with annual prizes awarded for categories like the most productive workers, best attendance, best pruning team etc. Each village performs traditional Assamese "Bihu" and "Jhoomor" dances dressed in colourful costumes and tribal jewellery and "Mithai" or Indian sweets in the form of "laddoos" are distributed to all the worker families.
Tea Seasons of Assam
The first tea harvest of the year starts in March, after a prolonged period of winter dormancy. The First Flush in Assam often has a fragrant, fresh, flowery character, usually a little spicier than its Darjeeling equivalent. The cup is golden yellow in colour. However, the best quality Assam tea is harvested in May and June, during the Second Flush period. Khongea Second Flush tea has an unusually high proportion of chunky golden tips. The tea has a spicy and malty character and the color of the infused tea leaves is a rich coppery red to deep brown. Khongea produces both CTC and Orthodox (leaf tea).
"Khongea is today one of the highest yielding tea estates in Assam,
and is often used as a model by the tea industry."-Sudhir Prakash