When the Assam and Darjeeling tea cultivation experiments succeeded it encouraged similar endeavours in other parts of India that had similar natural conditions. These efforts resulted in a thriving tea industry in many parts of South India and North east India.
Here are some of the tea regions we source our teas from:
Since 1841, Darjeeling has been growing the Chinese variety of the tea plant. The environment of Darjeeling has a unique effect on the tea bush unlike the other regions growing the same variety. The teas grown in the regions have a muscatel flavor (in reference to Muscatel grapes). This flavor cannot be replicated giving Darjeeling tea a geographical indication (GI) status that is protected across the world. Currently 87 tea gardens have the GI status that produces around 10,000 tonnes of tea annually.
Plantations are at an altitude of 600 m – 2000 ms above sea level. The region receives adequate rainfall and the steep slops and altitude help ensure excellent drainage. The soil, the partial cloud coverage and the bright sunshine contribute to the goodness of Darjeeling tea.
The state of Assam is home to the single largest contiguous tea-growing region in the world. The months between March and September, the region has extremely humid summers and heavy rainfall. India’s largest search centre ‘Tocklai’ is also located in Assam. Tea plantations in Assam grow the Camelia Sinensis var Assamica variety of the tea plant. Just like Southern China, Assam grows its on native tea plant. Interesting fact: Assam is the only region in the world growing tea on plains.
The rich, full-bodied, deep-amber liquor with a strong malty taste grown in Assam is ideal for the early morning cup. The second flush of Assam tea is extremely popular for its distinctive taste and bright liquor. Orthodox Assam teas have been registered as a geographical indication (GI) in India.
In 1829, Dr Jameson declared the Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh as a potential tea growing region following a feasibility survey. Chiese tea plants were brought from Almora and Dehradun and planted in Kangra, Nagrota and Bhawarna. Tea is now cultivated across an area of 2,063 hectares in Kangra and Mandi districts. The Kangra valley is located on the foothills of the snow-capped Dhauladhar mountains, at an altitude of around 1,500 m above sea level and an average rainfall of 230-250 cm. It has a temperature range between 13oC and 35oC for the cropping season from March to October and is also blessed with uniform rainfall. Due to the favourable natural climate that’s free of pests and insects, tea is grown organically in the Kangra valley.
In 1823 the British Collector of Coimbatore, Mr John Sullivan built his stone house in Ootacamund. The Nilgiri Hills, or Blue Mountains, subsequently became famous as a retreat to escape the summer heat. In 1853, initial tea cultivations experiments were carried out in Ketti Valley. Commercial production was first undertaken in the Thiashola and Dunsandle Estates in 1859. Over a century later, Glensmorgan emerged as the first estate in South India to produce green tea in 1969.
Nilgiri tea is named after the Nilgiris, or Blue Mountains, where it is grown at elevations ranging from 1,000 metres to 2,500 metres. The mountains get their name from the saxe-blue kurinji flower, which blooms once every 12 years. The region receives annual rainfall of 60 inches to 90 inches. The weather conditions provide Nilgiri teas with a characteristic briskness, exceptional fragrance and exquisite flavour. The liquor is golden yellow in colour, provides a creamy taste in the mouth and has notes of dusk flowers. Nilgiri tea has also been registered as a GI in India, and around 92 million kg of this tea are produced every year – around 10 per cent of India’s total tea production.
Situated at a height of 6000 feet in Idukki district, the quiet, serene and beautiful hill station of Munnar is viewed as a dream destination away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Tea was first grown in Munnar by A H Sharp in the 1970s. European company Finlay took over 33 tea estates in Munnar in 1895, and transferred management control to Kannan Devan Hills Produce Company in 1897. Tata Group and Finlay formed a joint venture in 1964, and tea plantations under the Tatas were transferred to a new company – Kannan Devan Hills Produce Co Pvt Ltd in 2005. This company now manages 16 estates over an area of around 8,600 hectares.
Tea from Munnar produces a golden yellow liquor with strong body, refreshing briskness and a hint of fruit. It has a clean, medium toned fragrance, which is described as being akin to that of sweet biscuit in a dip of malt.