Those who work with me know how much I like a good cup of tea. What I didn’t appreciate, however, is how much time and effort it takes to produce a good brew.
This is the Sungei Palas tea plantation, just north of Brinchang in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands. The area is named after colonial surveyor William Cameron, who came across it in the late 1800s. It later became Peninsula Malaysia’s largest hill station.
Today it offers Malays and foreigners alike a welcome retreat from both everyday life and the heat of much of the rest of the country. In many ways, it’s like an alpine retreat – full of hotels, restaurants and tacky gift shops. But it is also a big agroindustrial area – growing exotic fruits such as strawberries, which wouldn’t be possible elsewhere.
It is particularly known for its tea. Unlike higher plantations in Sri Lanka and India, tea can be harvested all year around in the Cameron Highlands. That said, the result is a bit of a mixed bag as they only produce the lower quality black tea opposed to the higher quality white or green tea.
Nevertheless a visit to a local plantation is a fascinating insight into something so many of us take for granted. Once the tea is harvested from the plant, as pictured, it is sent to the factory where it is rolled, fermented and dried, before being packed as loose tea or in teabags.
And the secret to a good cup of tea? Well, our guide Mike stressed that tea should be brewed for no longer than 30 seconds, and should not be tainted with either milk or sugar. You have been told.
We took a half-day tour of the Boh tea plantation and mossy forest with Cameron Secrets.
Copyright Natalie Marchant/Tales From Taliena