Our Focused Tea Producing Regions - Unmesh Global
Posted by Unmesh Global Research Team on Sep 20th 2020
India currently is one of the largest exporters of tea with more than 13,000 tea gardens and employing more than 2 million people. But, the formation of the tea trade is credited to the British. Some notable English names who were instrumental in creating the vast tea trade are Warren Hastings, George Bogle, Sir Joseph Banks, Robert Kyd, and Robert Bruce.
Around 1774, Warren Hastings had the initial idea of seeing India as a producer of tea. So, he sent some tea seeds from China to George Bogle, a British emissary in Bhutan. Unfortunately, this experimentation was a failure due to climatic and soil conditions. In 1776, Sir Joseph Banks, a notable botanist, was asked to provide his expertise in tea cultivation that is specific for India. In 1780 Robert Kyd used these notes to do another set of experimentation on the Assam valley. After a few decades, Robert Bruce discovered native Indian tea plants growing wildly in the Upper Brahmaputra Valley. So, after this finding, the idea of importing tea seeds from China was discarded and experimentation with the native tea plants started as they were acclimated to the native soil composition and climate. In May 1823, the first Indian tea consignment was sent from Assam to England for public sale. After the initial success of the Assam tea, 'Bengal Tea Association' was formed in Calcutta, and the first joint-stock Tea Company, the 'Assam Company' in London was established.
The tremendous success of the tea trade from the Upper Brahmaputra Valley instigated the British in finding more potential grounds for tea growing such as the entire range of foothills of the Himalayas and other parts of India. Seventy-eight more plantations sprung up by 1863 in Kumaon, Dehra Dun, Garhwal, Kangra Valley and Kulu. The packaging of tea the Indian Tea Association was formed in 1881 and the United Planters Association of Southern India (UPASI) was formed in 1895. By 1885, India was a global leader in tea and exporting more than 35,274 tons.
Region 1: Darjeeling
|Total area considered||17,820 ha|
|Production||9.8 million kg|
|Rainfall||3,000 -3,300 mm|
Located at the base of the foothills of the majestic Himalayas, Darjeeling is one of the world’s finest and exquisite producer of teas. A cup of Darjeeling tea is golden or amber in color and has a unique, delicate flavor that is referred to as "muscatel,". Muscatel, short-form for “the flavor of muscatel grapes”, is the flavor that can be described as "flowery," and sometimes, "peachy". The flavor is so fine that drinkers usually skip the milk and sugar, which are usually added to neutralize the bitter taste of heavier black teas.
Darjeeling now produces almost 10 million tea but, it is only 1% of all India’s tea. The famous
Tea gardens are situated at up to 7,000-ft-high elevations on steep slopes, which provide ideal drainage for the enormous rainfall the district receives. But, unfortunately, it also makes it more difficult for pluckers to navigate, making the plucking a slower process than the rest of the garden. The Darjeeling leaves weigh less than other varieties, due to a more severe withering process and the usage of orthodox methods for the processing of Darjeeling makes it five times more time-consuming. Thus, these varieties of reasons make Darjeeling tea one of the costliest tea in the world and the best. Also, since there is none other tea like Darjeeling tea, it has been registered as a Geographical Indication in India and is protected internationally.
Region 2: Assam
|Total area considered||312,210 ha|
|Production||507 million kg|
|Rainfall||2,500 -3,000 mm|
Assam is also known as the “land of one-horned Rhino” and its ancient name was Pragjyotispura - the city of eastern light. The Assam tea delivers rich, full-bodied, bright tea liquor. Anyone who desires the bright, strong cup of tea, Assam is the one. Assam’s climatic conditions can be best described as heavy rainfall between March and September, with very high humidity in the summer months. The majority of Assam’s soil can be best categorized into three types: red loam soil, lateritic soil and alluvial soil.
The low altitude, rich loamy soil conditions, ample rainfall and its unique climate assist in producing some of the finest orthodox leaf teas. The research center that is credited with giving the Assam tea the rich, elegant and deep-amber color is Tea Research Association is located in Jorhat, est. 1911 at Tocklai. Assam orthodox tea just like Darjeeling tea has recently been registered as a Geographical Indication in India.
[picture credit: Tea Association of India]