The tea culture in India (part 1)

India and China are the world’s largest producers of tea. In India, millions of tea workers are employed by more than 100,000 tea estates across the country. Tea is deeply embedded in the fabric of India’s culture with millions of metric tons consumed by over 70 percent of Indian.

The differences in climate and geography divide its terrain into three main regions namely Assam in Northeastern India and eastern Himalaya; Darjeeling in Tibetan Himalaya as well as between high mountain ridges and deep mountain valleys and Nilgiri (Blue Hill) in the mountains of the southernmost feature high altitude ridges. 

Each India tea-producing region has a different but perfect climate for tea growing, generating many ways to explore the culture of tea.

Assam

Assam is the largest tea-growing region in India and in the world, planting variety of India’s indigenous, Camillia sinensis assamica.

This plant was discovered in 1815 and became a huge hit among both Indian and British. At that time, the British were heavily relied on China to supply their growing demand.

English explorer and botanist Robert Bruce and his brother are said to have confirmed the discovery of India’s native tea plant and its benefits as well as how to mass produce them.

By the late 1870s, the English had invented machinery to help speed up the tea production process and reduce its reliability on labor. 8,000 machines have replaced half a million of people in hand rolling, fire an dry tea leaves. In just a short time, the British had the ability to increase the per capita tea consumption from 1 pound to more than 4 pounds in 60 years (1820 -1880). Furthermore, Indian black tea was now on its way to beat Chinese green tea to become the most consumed tea in the world.