TRISTAN’S TERRACE, A NEW WING AT BOH’S SUNGEI PALAS TEA CENTRE OPENS AS BOH CELEBRATES 90 YEARS OF UMMPH
Cameron Highlands, 23 July 2019 – BOH is 90 years old and new things are brewing at BOH’s Sungei Palas Tea Centre. A brand new wing called Tristan’s Terrace, in honour of BOH’s Chairman who served from August 1966 – July 2019, was today officially launched by Yang Berhormat Tuan Muhammad Bakhtiar bin Wan Chik, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Malaysia.
Caroline Russell, Executive Chairman of BOH Plantations said, “Today is a significant milestone as we celebrate two very special occasions – the opening of Tristan’s Terrace at the Sungei Palas Tea Centre and BOH’s 90th Anniversary which is themed 90 Years of Ummph!
“The Sungei Palas Tea Centre has been intentionally designed to integrate with the natural highland landscape. Built in 2007 as a one-stop Tea Centre with a contemporary architectural style, it includes a 20-foot overhanging balcony as a viewing deck now called J.A.’s Balcony.
“The Tea Centre aims to provide visitors a sensorial and leisurely experience of BOH; from an understanding of the brand legacy and milestones to the intricacies of tea cultivation, tea processing and facts about tea. Thousands of visitors have since walked through our Tea Centre and have thoroughly enjoyed the captivating panoramic views of the plantation while enjoying a delicious cup of BOH tea,” shared Russell.
Over the years, BOH’s tea gardens have become emblematic of Cameron Highlands. Photographs of BOH’s overhanging balcony have graced websites and brochures of tourism, hospitality and travel related organisations.
“Now, with the unveiling of Tristan’s Terrace, we are able to host our visitors more comfortably, both from within Malaysia as well as from overseas, with a further 200 seating capacity. The concept for the new wing is akin to a terraced walkway overlooking a garden that has been carefully laid out to offer best vantage views. Tucked away at the end of the wing is an exclusive meeting room suited for small events, with framed views of the tea garden as an inspiring backdrop. We also have a tea tasting room for visitors to gain a deeper sense of tea appreciation. All in all, it’s a comprehensive induction to all things tea and a feast for the eyes with our spectacular panorama,” enthused Russell.
Welcoming guests to the new wing is a 6-foot diameter solid brass rolling table which was once used in the BOH Sungei Palas tea factory to crush the tea leaves – an important stage in the manufacture of tea.
Russell said that the naming of the new facility as Tristan’s Terrace is very special and meaningful for BOH and for her personally. Her father, Datuk Tristan Russell, who she dubbed as Tea Connoisseur Extraordinaire, is as synonymous with the brand BOH as was J.A. Russell, her grandfather.
Tristan Russell joined BOH in the 1950s when he was just 21 years old and had a long and illustrious history in growing BOH to be a trusted household name in Malaysia, mastering the art of tea, from tea bush to teacup. His love for the estates is evident and his passion for tea second to none. Reminiscing the past, Caroline recalled him examining the tea fields clad in his signature bush hat and planters shorts, determining the health of the tea, its yield and quality.
Many milestones were achieved during his 53-year tenure as Chairman. He grew the area of planted tea and the number of estates and modernised the art of manufacturing tea by investing in innovative techniques and infrastructure to keep BOH at the forefront of tea-making technology. He raised the productivity of one tea harvester from 40kg a day to 200kg and thanks to his foresight, where 27 people were once needed for the rolling room, today, only 1 minds the machines.
Tristan pioneered the early use of television advertising in an era of black and white TV when there was only one channel. He was responsible for bringing Mr. BOH to life, a loveable yet iconic character and one of the 1st televised company mascots in Asia.
In a personal tribute to Tristan Russell, Caroline thanked him for building a strong legacy brand, committed to giving consumers the excellent quality of BOH tea that they love. “Naming this new facility in your honour is a small way for us to thank you for your love and passion for BOH. There is no doubt that BOH is who we are today, due in a large part, to your dedication, commitment and tireless efforts.”
Caroline added that success is, however, never about one person and the 90th Anniversary is an opportunity to remember and thank successive generations of staff and managers who had contributed so much to BOH. During the event, a video interviewing some of BOH’s unsung heroes, the men and women behind the scenes who have dedicated much of their lives to the company, was screened. Caroline said she was humbled and deeply thankful to all of the people who have given their energy and hard work to BOH’s development.
A tour of BOH’s Sungei Palas Tea Centre offers an interesting insight into Malaysia’s tea cultivation. Now with the expanded Sungei Palas Tea Centre, BOH is poised to play an even bigger role in eco-tourism in Cameron Highlands and support tourism efforts championed by the government and the local authorities.
Russell also shared about BOH’s partnership with the Tropical Rainforest Conservation and Research Centre (TRCRC) which aims to grow and develop conservation initiatives in Cameron Highlands and support long-term forest preservation, restoration and biodiversity. The collaboration will also cover forest restoration at TRCRC’s Tropical Living Collection (TRLC) in Banun, Perak, where BOH will sponsor the planting of 200 trees to help restore key forest corridors within the Central Forest Spine.
BOH made Cameron Highlands its home 90 years ago when J.A. Russell established the country’s first tea garden in Cameron Highlands in 1929. He discovered the Highlands to be prime cropland with its right attributes such as cool temperatures, high altitude, abundant rainfall, long hours of sunshine and well-drained and acidic soil; all ideal to produce highland teas that are brisk with robust flavours and delightful aromas.
A limited edition tea was also launched to commemorate BOH’s 90th anniversary. The Emerald Blend, packaged in a book-styled caddy, is a fine earl grey tea blended with marigold flowers and with hints of natural citrus and floral flavours. It is available at select outlets and at the Tea Centre.
“While BOH celebrates a significant milestone, we are, at the same time, humbled by the fact that BOH has been able to enjoy a special place in the lives of Malaysians all through these years. I wish to thank everyone for their support, be it through our endeavours in the arts, supporting the environment or simply just loving each sip of your cup of BOH tea. Ada BOH, Ada Ummph!” concluded Russell.
To mark the occasion, Just Heavenly cake creators were commissioned to design and produce an Emerald Blend based cake to capture the essence of BOH’s 90th Anniversary.
The BOH Sungei Palas Tea Centre is open daily to public except Mondays from 9.00am – 4.30pm. Admission to the BOH Tea factory is free and information tours are conducted approximately every 30 minutes. For more information, please log on to www.bohtea.com