Friday, December 09, 2011

Sungai Palas BOH Tea Plantation

As promised, this is a single entry describing the BOH Tea Plantation that is a MUST visit if you are in Cameron Highland.
BOH Plantations was founded in 1929 by J.A. Russell, an Englishman that was granted a piece of land on the lower land in Cameron to set up the first tea plantation in Malaya.
The first plantation is located at Habu, which one would pass on the right hand side after the Lata Kinang waterfall. The Sg Palas tea plantation is the largest in Malaysia and still belongs to the Russells family. Growing up, i recall the tagline "BOH ada Ummph" shown on the mainstream and electronic media. Do you know that BOH stands for Best Of Highland? This still hold true as BOH remains the premium black tea producer in this part of the world.
And more Tea.
More interesting facts is that the tea trees at the highland is already 80 years old. They are harvested once every 3 weeks and pruned once every 3 months. All trees are kept at waist high for reason i believe it allow for the most practical ergonomic for harvesting using the traditional modified shear or the modernized motorized two-men shear for harvesting.
Old shear vs. new machine. Yeild of 25kg vs 250kg per day.
Finding Sg Palas tea plantation is easy. All you need to do is to locate the Butterfly Farm as you are coming from Ringlet or Strawberry Park. The road leading into the plantation is tucked on the left hand side after Butterfly Farm and share the same road entrance to Mossy Mountain or Gunung Brinchang. Sufficient signboards are available and you will not get lost. The Tea Centre is located 9km from the main road and careful courteous driving is compulsory due to the narrowness of the gravel road. Refrain from stopping on the road shoulder to come out and admire or take photo of the scenery. Be prepared to be awed by endless valley of tea trees along the whole 9km.
Expert hands needed.
As you reach the tea centre, you will noticed that the plantation is self-sufficient with a school, a temple and workers quarter apart from the tea processing facility and a visitor centre (known as Tea'ria) where you can have a meal and buy some tea (what else) back as souvenirs.
A School that has no landscape problem. Fresh flower is a doorstep away.
The highlight would be the overhang 20-footer balcony that sticks out rather precariously overlooking the rolling valley of tea trees.
Wishing my balcony
If that isn't impressive enough, the tea processing facility welcomes tourists and visitors alike to view first hand how the raw tea leafs turns into black tea leaves via specific process. It will make you appreciate that humble cup of tea that you brew in the tea bag.
Magic Building
The process starts with the tea leaves being transported to the processing facility that is three storey high. Harvested leaves will be weighted on the weigh-bridge and the tea leave humidity will be checked by the Tea Maker's office. Then the tea leaves will be placed on a conveyor to be transported to the second floor storage area so it could feed into the process.
Wish you could take a ride?
Once the tea are inside, QA/QC check are performed by Tea Maker personnel or qualified personnel to ascertain that the harvest meets the stringent standard set by BOH.
Tea Maker's Office.
Classification and separation of harvest
Once the batch of leaves has passed the check, they will be approved for processing. A huge 6foot diameter roller that was in operation since 1935. The roller will break the tea leaves and prepare them for fermentation.
Wifey showing the kids the processing
Sirocco Brass roller!
 From the roller, it will be moved to the fermentation process where the tea leaves will be allowed to oxidize. The crushed leaves will naturally oxide when leave aired in the cool air of Cameron Highland. The process will make the leave turns from green to golden brown.
The Door to Oxidation

A peep into the oxidation/fermentation room
The next process involve moving the fermented leaves for drying. It is another conveyor belt system that brings the tea leaves into a dryer blowing hot air close to 100 degree Celsius for about 20minutes. This is where the distinctive smell of tea that engulf the whole processing plant comes from.
Getting a lot of hot air at the other end
As the tea leaves dries out, they are then moved to the separation process where the dried leaves and stalks are passed through a series of sieves to grade and prepare for the final packing process.
More hot air blowing :P
graded tea waiting to be sent to Habu or Selangor for packing.
The Tea Centre is like an educational museum with a lot of items being displayed that aim to educate and appreciate the finer points in tea making. Enjoy the next series of photos.
Handy to pack human inside too
I would love to have this in my house if i live in a four season country. This furnace is for drying in the olden days.
The top white man is JA Russell. The other photos are the Tea Plantation Manager. Current Manager is the Malaysian Indian at the bottom right. Malaysia Boleh!
 You can purchase tea in the Tea'Ria shoppe. Varieties of teas are available for purchase, including the "you might not find it" Sungei Palas Afternoon Tea by BOH.
Souvenir set
Drink until Lau Sai.
The flavoured teas are available too.
 The tea trees that got too big, they improvised and use the log as decorative wall along the walkway. Clever use of natural material!
More educational information along the walkway to the canteen.
 The 20-footer balcony is obviously one of the highlight of the place. It offers a panoramic view of the rolling tea plantation as far as the eyes (or morning mist) can see. Nadia obviously enjoyed the awesomeness of the whole view.
 Click on the photo below for a 4-photo composite using a 10mm lense to capture. For full effect, stand infront of an air-condition blowing 20 degree C air out. A fan next to you to help to complete the experience of "being almost there".
Rolling Tea Wonder!
 Remember to visit Sungai Palas BOH Tea Plantation when you are in Cameron. Go in the morning before 9am so you will be able to escape the traffic and kiasu tourist flocking to see the place! We truly enjoyed the 3-hours spent at the place and hope to return one day, soon!

The Lims.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. The fact oh BOH meaning is incorrect, this is what normally tour guides in Cameron Highlands told the tourist and it's so easy to remember thus people pick up the version quickly and circulated online.

      Real facts is :
      The name BOH comes from “Bohea” which are hills in Szechuan Province; a place known for its teas in the early China Tea Trade.

      Hope admin can remove the wrong fact :)

    2. Thanks for this. I was told by the folks in Boh Plantation - hence the write up. Will consider to correct it only if Boh themselves can correct theirs, else it do injustice to their own facts as well.