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Monday 3 May 2010

Boh Tea Plantation

I'd like you to meet Mr. Boh. (I love his jacket!)

Remember how I said that I drank more tea than anybody else I know? Well, it's true. And I am afraid that the tea obsession is not just with drinking it. Whilst clearing the book shelves the other day, I found a book I'd forgotten about, Tea: The Drink That Changed the World and thought it might be of interest to those similarly chai-centric.

When you have a cup of tea, you don't think about the history of the drink itself, do you? You're just looking for refreshment! This book will change that: tea, everyday and humdrum though it may seem, has over the years caused (and paid for) numerous wars, fuelled the drug trade, helped advance medical science and changed beyond recognition the geographical and socio-political (never thought I'd use that word on this blog!) landscapes of countries like India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. John Griffiths' book is fascinating, a real page turner, and for those like myself makes for calming reading - his preferred method of brewing tea (p. 235) puts mine in the shade. Evidently I am not the only one with particular tastes.

When I read John's book over Christmas several years ago, I decided I wanted to see how tea is produced for myself. It became number two on my list of food-related things to do whilst on holiday (number one was to drink coconut water through a straw, fresh from the coconut, and preferably on the beach- am I the only one who has lists like that?)

Anyway, numbers one and two were both happily achieved early the following year on a trip to Singapore and Malaysia. We took a detour to the Cameron Highlands - which was a rather curious experience, I definitely recommend exploring the area if you ever get the chance - and visited the Boh Sungei Palas Tea Gardens, north of Brinchang. And since I found the photos of the occasion when rootling around on my computer this morning, I thought we'd go on a little tea plantation tour!

Ready? Let's go.

This is one of the (many) photos of the teas slopes I took.
I'm showing you this one because I'm in the others, and I'm shy.
But look how the tea grows in waves; isn't it beautiful?

This is part of the worker housing - historically, tea pickers have always lived on the tea farms. They have schools, churches and everything. I liked seeing their gardens. Evidently picking tea all day didn't stop them putting their green fingers to good use at home too.

An antique tea rolling table. I wanted to take this home with me, but Mr. Boh said no. It is enormous and really beautiful, though I'm not sure how much I'd like to sit at it rolling tea leaves all day.

Hibiscus, the National Flower of Malaysia. You have to make time for the flowers!

OK, nothing to do with Boh tea, this was just a banana leaf curry we had in a tiny place near the bus station in Tanah Rata - I think the whole thing, including teh tarik, cost us £1.
Super, and really interesting to see how Chinese and Indian flavours mingle.

If you ever make it to Sungei Palas, you can have a guided tour as I remember, but we got there late so it wasn't possible. The tea factory was also closed, although I have heard that it's a really fun experience.


  1. There are no words to express how jealous I am of your visit.

    I feel so trapped in this country! Only a few more months, and then it's done. Adios America!

  2. Interesting tour, thanks for sharing! The tea slopes are incredibly beautiful.

  3. How is the kitchen? Mine is finished now and it is such a relief.
    I visited Malaysia in 1983 when my SIL spent 3 years teaching English in Taiping. It's an amazing country, we didn't make it to the Cameron Highlands but did go to Taman Negara (national park) and Pankor Island where we stayed in a little grass roofed hut which was built over the sea and the tide came in under the hut.

  4. Pictures look amazing. I dream of going to Darjeeling one day, even though I only drink tea occasionally.

    Just wanted to let you know that I have shared a blog award with you on my blog. Please do have a look. I have enjoyed your blog ever since discovering your lamingtons.

  5. Jealous, P. Jealous.

    I thorougly enjoyed our tour today, but somehow I feel as if I need more. Perhaps it's my lack of tea today. Make me a cup? :)

  6. I'm a new and secret admirer of your blog... And I'm so thrilled to see a post on tea. And tea from my own home-country *I'm so proud*. I'm actually about to make the bizcocho cake over a cuppa of BOH Cameronian Gold tea ;)

  7. I don't know..I think my hubby could quite possibly drink more tea than you. As in about....oh, 20 cups a day!

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  9. Alia! How did it go? The cake I mean. You know, I have some Cameronian Gold in my cupboard. I love that I have been to where it is made.

    I have also just decided that next fancy dress party I go to, I am going as Mr. Boh. Regardless of the party theme.

  10. It looks beautiful, but did it ruin the mystery? I would guess not, seeing as the mystery is being ruined by beautiful scenery and botany and delicious curries. A little different to having the mystery ruined by visiting a teabag factory.

  11. Mr P: The cake went beautifully (it's my third time making it). I've started using lemon yoghurt instead of plain yoghurt and substituting 1.5 cups of flour for 1.5 cups of ground almond, and adding the juice of half a lemon. Turns out so moist and beautifully lemony! :D
    I went to the same plantation as you when I was last home over Christmas and loved how EVERYTHING smelled of tea!


That's what he said.

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