When something sells extraordinarily well, eyebrows are raised. This is probably the base of branding, and it is exactly what Makaibari did – at a juncture when there was also a major change of hands at the helm of affairs.
Legendary Rajah Banerjee – who is aging and has no one to take over the reins in the family business – transferred majority share holding to Luxmi Tea Company, an already established tea company having varied other interests.
Now, there is the record price of 1850 USD per kilo for a small lot of Imperial Silver Tips, charged to an unknown buyer. This exchange has created waves; the further ripples have sprung forth some surprises, disbeliefs, and raised eyebrows – and leveled the whole thing as a gimmick. In the words of Kevin Gascoyen of Camellia Sinensis, Canada, “A very obvious, and relatively inexpensive publicity stunt that has been used before many times. Good for both buyer and seller. Perhaps one day prices will inhabit this realm but for now let’s keep it real, for the sake of the buyers and the market place. We saw what happened in 2007 with the Pu er market, nobody wins in the end.”
What have we to do with that? We presented this tea at the International Tea Cuppers Club (ITCC) event on May 27, 2014, during the World Tea Expo in Long Beach. For the gathering of approximately one hundred people, the tea was an instant hit – as Makaibari always is. We were basking in others’ glory, but the moment was also mirthful – because the tea was exceptional. After that we had a Gyokuro from Sugimoto Tea, Japan which was served in drops, being such a rare tea. It must have been quite expensive, too.
Much has been said about Makaibari over the last many, many years, even more since the advent of the internet and the advent of the American tea revolution. but this one Makaibari was the grandest one.
Images courtesy of the contributor.