In India tea is a way of life. It spreads throughout, in every level of society and overcomes all the economic barriers. Be it from the kitchens of the rich, middle class to the people who have a shoestring budget. Tea is an icon of Indian hospitality which we acquired from British colonies , who were the architects of tea in India. It is the traditional way to honor a guest or even offered to a plumber or a carpenter who visits an average household for repair jobs. Be it north, south, east or west, Indians are avid tea drinkers and lovers. Hence UniTEA in DiversiTEA.
Tea is enjoyed throughout the year specially during monsoons and winters. There are lot of varieties in India and each variety has a distinct flavor, aroma and look of its own. So let’s enter the world of Indian Teas to know them better.
The tea plant always existed in India. It was simply growing in the jungles of Assam, without any knowledge of someone. The tea was introduced in Dibrugarh where East India Company ventured in a bid for its cultivation. Assam is the world’s largest tea growing region with almost 51% of India’s output of tea. Assam Tea is a rich, malty and robust flavored black tea. It has a very strong taste, full bodied, deep amber liquor. These teas have bright, coppery tones of color. Generally it is considered as “Wake up Tea” by most of the tea lovers in India.
Darjeeling is a small town in the state of West Bengal. According to the Tea Board of India, use of Darjeeling word and logo are protected as Geographical Indication status in India. Darjeeling Tea cannot be grown or manufactured else where in the world like Champagne distinct of France, so Darjeeling Tea to Darjeeling. Hence its also known as “Champagne of Teas”. This tea is processed using “Orthodox” method that was used in 1800s which focuses on controlling the chemistry of leaves. Plucking leaves of tea here is difficult because of its rugged, rough and uneven terrain. This affects its production, hence it is 1/3rd produced as compared to Assam Tea.
The tea bushes grown here have aroma and flavor of liquor, which is light and delicate in color. It has floral taste similar to grapes in Muscat. Darjeeling Tea when brewed gives pale lemon to rich amber color.
The Kangra Valley is located in the mountainous state of India, Himachal Pradesh. Kangra Tea is about 150 years old. Today it is popular all over India and abroad. Kangra valley’s tea region is the smallest in India. In 1905, Kangra earthquake destroyed and devastated the tea industry, which resulted Britishers leaving the region, due to which few growers were left. Thus it got confined to few hectares run by handful of planters which are still there. The tea plants are of China origin as the seeds were gathered from China. Kangra Teas have light gold color, more body and clear liquor. The tea has a subtle and pleasantly pungent taste infused with green and vegetal aroma.
This tea is named after Nilgiris or Blue Mountains which spreads from borders of Tamil Nadu, Kerela and Karnataka. Nilgiri teas include teas from Ooty, Travancore, Munnar, Annamalai, Wayanad and Nelliampathy, Idukkai districts, Coorg and Chikmaglur. It is called “Fragnant One”. It has strong, yet smooth , well balanced and fruity flavor. It is golden yellow in color. A rare type of tea is cultivated in Nilgiri known as “Frost Tea”. This tea is harvested in winter therefore concentrating the flavor inside the tea leaf.
Dooars and Terai Tea
This tea growing area is at foothills of Himalayas in the district of Jalpaiguri, West Bengal along with small part of Coochbehar district which is the gateway to North east and Bhutan known as Dooars. Terai region is southern part Nepal, North western India and the outer foothills of Himalayas , The Shivallik Hills. Tea from Dooars and Terai are clear, black, spicy and slightly sweet in taste but lighter than Assam Tea.
Surely by now, the above interesting information will lead you to wander in the aromatic and pleasurable tea tasting experiences of the Indian Teas……