1890 – 1910
At the age of 6 John Archibald ‘Archie’ Russell, the founder of the BOH tea plantation, came with his father and 4 brothers to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After the death of his mother in a tragic car accident, he was sent back to England for his first school years. On his return to Malaysia, Archie began a career in the mining industry. He also mastered 5 Chinese dialects and Malay and made a name for himself by building a railway station and founding companies in many areas, including a rubber company and a mine…
1920 – 1930
It’s the Great Depression and the world is in recession. Archie decided to start growing tea in the Cameron Highlands together with A.B. Milne, an experienced grower from Sri Lanka. Jungle land became the country’s first highland garden, today’s BOH tea plantation. The name BOH is derived from “Bohea”, the hills in Fujian province, also called Wuyi Hills, where the tea was originally discovered by Emperor Shennong. Bohea was also the name of a premium tea quality in the early Chinese tea trade. Boh means precious luck on Mandarin.
1930 – 1960
Archie tragically died of tuberculosis in Singapore at the age of 50. His widow Kathleen insisted that the BOH tea plantation be preserved despite financial difficulties. During the Second World War, the estate was occupied and largely abandoned by the Japanese. After the war, Archie’s son Tristan joined the company at the age of 21. During the turbulent war of independence, the Cameron Highlands were occupied by the communist movement. Therefore, troops were stationed around the plantations to protect the estate and the workers, while Tristan had to sleep with a gun under his pillow for safety! After independence, BOH’s founding family decided to stay in Malaysia, optimistic about what the future would bring.
1960 – 1970
Under Tristan’s leadership, the BOH tea plantations grew to a total of 4, including the acquisition of Sungei Palas. Tristan was appointed Chairman of BOH. He began to modernize the art of tea making by investing in innovative techniques and infrastructure. Thus BOH became the leader of the tea industry. Tristan was also responsible for bringing Mr. BOH to life, one of the first televised corporate mascots in Asia. BOH was an undisputed success at home and is still mentioned today.
1980 – 2000
BOH actively participated in animal and environmental initiatives such as “New Home for Elephants” and “New Home for Orang Utans” in Sabah, Eastern Malaysia.
Together with the virtual publishing house Kakiseni, the BOH Cameronian Arts Awards (also known as The Cammies) were launched in 2002, an annual event that honors outstanding contributions in the fields of dance, theatre, and music.
Caroline, daughter of Tristan, became CEO in 2003.
The TV spot “BOH Ada Ummph!” (Share the Ummph!”) was introduced and became an instant national hit.
2010 – today
Stevia leaf extract as a healthy alternative to sugar has been added to the range. Biodegradable pyramid tea bags were also developed and launched with Herb & Fruit Spa infusion teas and BOH Garden teas.
BOH has received many awards over the years, including ISO 22000 certification for Food Safety Management in 2006, FSSC certification (Food Safety System Certification) in 2017, Putra Brand Awards, Readers Digest Trusted Brands, Superbrand Excellence Trophy Award and Special Award from the Minister of Tourism.