Steam billows, the teapot fragrant. I enter a state of desires diminishing. Within the stillness, a further pleasure. Nothing coarse or superficial. This is drinking tea. ~ The Minister of Leaves
Nothing seems livelier than having a regular cup of tea for majority of the people in Bangladesh in any given day. In addition to the traditional ones, we find many new flavours of tea like Neem, Tulsi, Ginger or Green tea, available in the markets nowadays. They are very much within the reach and affordability of people who fancy drinking tea. The choices, however, are not confined to any specific strata of the society. So what’s new out there that can complement the tea lovers’ taste?
Syed Abdul Matin, an impassioned, agricultural expert, invented a new flavour of tea to supplement the array of the existing list. It’s called the “Mahogany Tea” - an unprecedented discovery in the history of tea. It all brewed in Matin’s head back in the year of 2000 when he was working on organic pesticides at Bhoroshapur IPM (Integrated Pest Club), Bagerhat. “Organic pesticides are made from the oil-cakes, popularly known as Khoil - the leftover after extracting the oil from any tree. Oil cakes are then processed to make organic fertilisers. While working with oil cakes of Neem and Mahogany tree, a thought suddenly crossed my mind. Neem and Mahogany both belong to the same botanical family; Meliaceae, and if tea can be derived from Neem tree then why the same cannot happen from Mahogany?”
Matin had financial constraints in furthering his research work, but did not give up. He started working on his thought and worked round the clock to bring his idea into life, to bring the best of Mahogany tea. And after endless trials, he finally attained the flavour he desired for.
Matin’s Mahogany tea has passed through all the phases of tests necessary to be done at the BCSIR (Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research). The result shows that Mahogany tea, in addition of being reenergising like other teas, does not contain any caffeine and has no element to make it addictive. It also contains ‘flavanoids’ and ‘saponins’ that are recognized for their nutritional ability, which enhance the immune system through providing protection against oxidative and free-radical damage and lessening fat build-up. This Mahogany tea comes in two liquors—Red and Green, which can be prepared and served in traditional style through adding milk, sugar, ginger, lemon or honey.
Making Tulsi and Neem tea require huge amount of leaves, and are less produced in Bangladesh, which makes them expensive. On the contrary, raw materials for Mahogany tea are very much available as 30% of our trees are Mahogany. Mahogany tea is therefore expected to come at a cheaper price with additional health benefits. Matin arranged a testing session at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon hotel for the Mahogany Tea which earned much applauses and appreciation of the tea lovers.
Matin’s patent application for the Mahogany tea is still pending for registration at the Department of Patents, Designs and Trademarks, Dhaka, while Matin expects the Mahogany tea would be commercially available in the market within a year.
The story was first published in INTELLECT Issue no.3, dated November 2013.