Quick Facts: 10 things to know about Indian tea

by Jason Walker on June 15, 2009

in darjeeling

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Indian TeaCommercial production since: The British East India Company began production in the 1820s.

Major tea producing regions: Darjeeling, Assam, Nilgiri

Although the West first grew to appreciate teas of Chinese origin, it was Indian black teas that became the affordable favorite of tradition. Here are the 10 facts you need to sound knowledgeable in Indian teas:

  1. UN stats show India is now second to China in tea production.
  2. Some of the first attempts of developing teas in India involved introducing Chinese tea plants. Except for Darjeeling, most of these attempts failed.
  3. 1820’s and 30’s Charles Bruce continued to explore and develop Assam tea gardens, despite the East India Company’s belief that China teas were superior. The failure to successfully develop Chinese teas in India contributed to the downfall of the East India Company.
  4. 1870’s- John and William Jackson designed steam powered machines for tea production. Over the next 40 years, production costs dropped around 66% while increasing production.
  5. In the 1960’s Bernd Wulf and Ranabir Sen began to modify the processing of Darjeeling. The result was the more complex aromas and oolong-like subtleties we find in many Darjeelings today.
  6. The Assam region is one of, if not the largest tea-growing area in the world and accounts for a little over half of all India tea production.
  7. Second Flush Assam is considered superior in character to first flush Assam. Second Flush harvest lasts from June to September.
  8. First Flush Darjeeling is picked in late March – early May. While First Flush remains in popular demand for its aromas, Second Flush is also appreciated as having a mature character.
  9. Nilgiri teas grow in southern India around the Nilgiri (Blue) Mountians.
  10. Highly regarded tea estates: Goomtee (Darjeeling), Poobong (Darjeeling), Chamong (Darjeeling), Margaret’s Hope (Darjeeling), Burnside (Nilgiri), Chamraj (Nilgiri), and Dunsdale (Nilgiri)

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