On the occasion of “International Tea Day” 21st May Manje La Singpho an awardee of Assam Gaurav Award, prominent Singpho leader and singpho Tea phalap manufacturer of Margherita on Sunday talks with Mithun Baruah Margherita correspondent about the History of Singpho Tea (Phalap).
‘Long ago, two Singpho brothers went hunting deep in the forest in Assam. Wandering through jungle, they could not find any animals due to which they ran out of life saving food and water they were tired, hungry and thirsty, they had no strength to walk and decided to rest next to a small tree plant. Their hunger gnawed them and In desperation, they reached out to the leaves of the tree and ate them. To their utmost surprise and delight, they felt better shortly after eating the leaves. They were not hungry and thirsty anymore. One of the brothers asked the reasonable question: ‘PHA LAP’? PHA means ‘what’ and LAP means ‘leaf’ in Singpho language. They plucked the seeds and planted it at home. very soon every Singpho learned value of those leaves and PHALAP become the word ‘Tea’.
Discovery of Tea in India:
The genesis of Assam Tea begins from the powerful frontier Singpho Tribe of Assam. Robert Bruce, the secret agent to David Scott travelled on a strategic mission far beyond to eastern frontier of British India and discovered tea plant growing wild in the Singpho Country. During the travel in 1823 Robert Bruce extended friendship with Beesa Gaum, the Singpho chief of Beesa, who gave tea plants and seeds gift as a testimony of friendship. This incident was the turning point in the discovery of tea in India.
It is proved dating back 350 BC that tea was originated from China. There have been speculations of tea being consumed in India as well, although in different forms. Contrary to the popular misconception, that tea was not originally ‘imported’ crop, but is an indigenous plant of India, and most prominent regions being the Assam and Arunachal Pradesh which are the homeland for Singphos, and they have been drinking tea as a beverage since the time immemorial.
Ningrula, the powerful Singpho Chief of Ningru Area
Tea history of Assam begins its pages with this enterprising Ningru Chief (Duwa), who laid the foundation stone of trading tea from Ledo and Margherita region.
In the year 1840 the first batch of 95 tea boxes were dispatched to Calcutta Market for sale. Out of 95 boxes 35 boxes were prepared and packed by Ningrula himself. He wrote commercial chapter of the Assam tea by profiting 480 pounds out of those 35 tea boxes.
“PHALAP” – A SYMPHONY OF TASTE AND AROMA.
“Singpho Heritage Tea” focuses PHALAP a premium Singpho Tea Brand for tea lovers. “PHALAP” is purely natural handmade tea produced by Singpho community in Assam. The unique taste and aroma of tea produced with their traditional know-how since time immemorial makes Phalap a super drink.
“Singpho Heritage Tea” offers “PHALAP” in wild hollow bamboo tube form as well as in loose form.
Instruction for Steepting Ndum Phalap (Bamboo Tea)
Place the water in a tea kettle and heat it to 180°F to 200°F till the water is fully boiled. Then put the Bamboo tea as per your requirement and the tea may steep between 1 to 5 minutes.
You can reuse the leaves 2 or 3 times if you are using a larger capacity teapot or Tea kettle.
Pre warm the tea pot or cup pouring little hot boiling water and when the pot or cup is warm, pour out the water.
Keep it in a dry air tight container after peeling Bamboo Tea.
Instruction for Steeping Phalap( Loose Leaf Tea) Pre warm the tea pot or cup pouring little hot boiling water and when the pot or cup is warm, pour out the water.
Place 1 to 2 grams (Phalap) for one cup and put in the pot or cup. Pour the full boil water over tea leaf. And place the lid upon the pot or cover the tea cup with a saucer. Keep it for 2-3 minutes to steep.
You can also brew Phalap by putting into the full rolling boil water.
Taste the tea yourself at 1 minute and then every 30 seconds until it is to your liking before serving someone.
Loose Leaf Phalap generally infuses more quickly than Ndum Phalap (Bamboo Tea).
No milk or sugar can be added with Phalap. It has a combine taste of Green Tea and Oolong Tea.
Normal standard of measurement of Singpho Tea leaf is 1 gram: 1 Cup.
Keep it in a dry air tight container after opening the tea packet.
Before placing into the tea pot or tea cup heat the tea leaf with small pan for 1 minute to get perfect aroma of the Phalap.
The Singpho people belief that regular drinking of PHALAP helps controlling Diabetic, Cancer, Lowering Hypertension, Anti-Mutation and Heart problems etc.