Seven Color Tea
|Alternative names||Sat rong cha (সাত রং চা)|
|Place of origin||Bangladesh|
|Region or state||Srimangal, Moulvibazar District, Sylhet Division|
|Created by||Romesh Ram Gour|
|Main ingredients||Tea, condensed milk, cinnamon, cloves and lemons|
|Variations||2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 10 layers/colors tea|
Seven-color tea or seven-layer tea (Bengali: সাত রং চা) is a well-known hot beverage in Bangladesh. Romesh Ram Gour invented the seven-layer tea after discovering that different tea leaves have different densities. Each layer contrasts in color and taste, ranging from syrupy sweet to spicy clove. The result is an alternating dark/light band pattern throughout the drink, giving the tea its name. The seven-color tea is available in the Nilkantha Tea Cabin, a tea shop in Srimongol, Moulvibazar.
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The Government of Bangladesh earns a handsome amount of revenue every year from the tea shops of Romesh Ram Gour. Qatar Ambassador in Dhaka, Ahmed bin Mohamed al-Dehaimi, tasted the seven-colored tea during his visit to Srimangal. Romesh Ram Gour, the inventor of the seven-layer tea, was compensated Tk 7000 (BDT) for a cup of seven-layered tea as a reward.
Even though many other multi-layer tea brewers and outlets serve a similar multi-layer tea, Romesh Ram Gour believes no one could imitate ‘The Secret Recipe’. He never fully shared his secret recipe publicly, but has revealed its key ingredients.
- Three different black teas (grown in Srimongol)
- Green tea (grown in Srimongol)
- Spices (cinnamon, cloves)
- Condensed milk
Nilkantha Tea Cabin
Seven Layer Tea can be purchased from the Nilkantha Tea Cabin in Srimongol, Moulvibazar. This tea stall offers a unique color combination of tea. In addition to five distinct colors, tea can be found in 1 to 7 colors for reasonable prices. Ramesh Ram Gour, through hard work and dedication, developed the technique of layering seven colored layers of tea in the same cup/glass.
Presently, Romesh Ram Gour, the owner of the Nilkantha Tea Cabin, has two shops. The first and the oldest branch is located in Ram Nagar Manipuri Para of Srimangal (generally known as nilkontho-1), while the other is located at the 14 Rifle Battalion Center, Kalighat Road, Srimonoal, Sylhet, Bangladesh, (generally known as nilkontho-2). These tea cabins open at 9:00 am and close at 8:00 pm daily.
Bangladesh is a land known for its enjoyment of many festivals. So at the time of religious occasions, or any local holidays, many people gather here, drawn by the name and fame of seven-color tea. Those wishing to sample seven-layer tea at the Nilkantha Tea Cabin should be aware that cash is the only form of payment currently accepted.
At present, commercially, Bangladesh possesses 172 tea estates, among which are some of the world's largest working plantations. From these estates, only Sylhet has more than 150 tea gardens, including the three largest tea plantations in the world, both in size and production. Traditionally, the Sylhet region is the most important tea-growing area in the country. Three out of the four districts in Sylhet Division are tea-producing districts: Maulvi Bazar, Habiganj and Sylhet. Srimangal, a town in Moulvibazar, is known as the tea capital of Bangladesh and is famous for being surrounded for miles around by hill slopes covered with tea gardens. Being located on hills and within dense forests, Srimangal experiences heavy rainfall and wet winters. As this is a desirable environment for excellent tea production, 38 tea plantations have been established here. Because of the availability of different types of tea bushes, the Bangladesh Tea Research Institute (BTRI) has been established here also. The Nilkantha Tea Cabin collects various kinds of locally grown tea leaves (3 of black and 1 of green) from four types of bushes for the seven-color tea.
Popularity and beverage
Tea is a very popular beverage in Bangladesh. Bangladeshis are the 10th largest consumers of tea in the world. According to The Economist, the Bangladeshi people consumed 78,000 tons of tea in 2015.
The mixture of seven-layer tea has a distinct color and taste. To make the seven distinct bands of a rainbow, Romesh Ram Gour pours one layer on top of another. The top layer of the seven-layer tea contains cinnamon, and the layer below it has a lemon flavor. The third layer is not described here. The fourth layer consists of black tea mixed with condensed milk. The fifth and sixth layers are not described here. The bottom layer is made of sweet, syrupy green tea with cloves, cinnamon and secret spices. Only the taste and constituents of four layers of seven-layer tea are mentioned here.
It is rarely heard that people who visited Srimangal of Maulvibazar, did not drink the seven-color tea. In a visit to Srimangal, even Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina drank the tea of Ramesh Ram Gour with her officials.
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