In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented Queen Elizabeth with an award-winning variety from the Makaibari tea estate on his visit to the United Kingdom. It’s the preferred tea of Satyajit Ray’s fictional private investigator, Feluda. Now, Coca Cola India has tied up with the iconic Darjeeling tea estate to launch a ready-to-drink iced green tea.The iced green tea, made from organic green tea, is exclusively sourced from the Luxmi Group’s Makaibari estate and sold under the ‘Honest Tea’ brand. Honest Tea is a brand owned by Honest, Inc., a subsidiary of The Coca Cola Company.

The bottled iced green tea was formally launched on the second and concluding day of the Bengal Global Business Summit. Honest Tea comes in two flavours – lemon-tulsi and mango.Karthik Subramanian, director of marketing – hydration, coffee and tea category, Coca Cola India and Southwest Asia, said in a statement, “We are thrilled to introduce our new ready-to-drink iced green tea. With Honest Tea, we are offering consumers a unique experience of a great tasting green tea-based beverage.”Rudra Chatterjee, managing director of Kolkata-based Luxmi Group, said that there was no greater tea estate in Darjeeling than Makaibari. “It is the last word among teas, whether in Japan or England, royal houses.”

There are not many tea producers offering a ready-to-drink format – however, the Goodricke Group has a bottled organic iced tea.But for Darjeeling estates that grapple with a plethora of challenges including lower demand, a Coca Cola- Makaibari kind of tie-up could well be a shot in the arm.The US-based Honest Tea, a bottled organic tea company, it may be mentioned, was founded in 1998 by Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff. Coca Cola acquired the company in 2011.In 2022, however, The Coca Cola Company announced a phase-out of the Honest tea product line in a bid to rationalise its line-up of drinks and prioritising fewer, bigger brands.

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