The Brew Yonder: High Tea in Bangladesh

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NADEEM QADIR / AFP / Getty images

Rich pickings The area's hills are covered in tea

In Bangladesh, it's always teatime. The country produces 60 million kilos of tea every year, with almost 95% consumed domestically. At the center of the industry is the bucolic town of Srimangal, a five-hour train ride northeast of Dhaka.

You can rent a bike to zip around Srimangal's estates — most of them welcome curious tea lovers. So does the Bangladesh Tea Research Institute, tel: (880-8626) 71 225, where staff rattle off information about pests and soils. The tour ends with a tasting, where you can sample tea the likes of the new BT-18 strain, a drought-resistant tea designed for Bangladesh's changing climate.

If you tire of the polite sipping and swirling at the institute's tasting room, head for the Nilkantha Tea Cabin just outside of town, where you can slam down several teas at once. The signature beverage features seven varieties of tea, each floating on top of the other, as well as sugar and "secret spices." Be warned: the syrupy sludge at the bottom of each cup packs a kick.

When you come down from the sugar rush and start thinking of a bed for the night, try the Tea Resort. For less than $50 a night you can enjoy a small bungalow, swimming pool and — what else? — some extremely fine cups of tea. Call (880-171) 291 6001 for bookings.