Indian Tea – The World's Favourite Beverage
Indian Tea Industry – An Overview
India is currently:
- The largest consumer of tea in the world
- The second largest producer of tea in the world
- The fourth largest exporter of tea in the world
Tea serving is ubiquitous across India – from roadside tea stalls to corporate boardrooms and five star hotels. A more recent trend is the growing obsession for exquisite tea varieties and blends – which promises tremendous opportunities for both new and existing players on the market.
Tea Cultivation in India
Tea cafes seem to be the new flavour of India. They are opening up at a steady pace throughout the country – enticing consumers to try different varieties of Indian tea and take their tea drinking experience to new levels.
Indian tea lovers are spoilt for choice today – with an exciting range of different-flavoured tea concoctions offered by tea cafes, ranging from upmarket tea lounges to down-to-earth chai shops around the street.
Several varieties of Indian tea have achieved global acclaim due to their highly sought-after characteristics – that no other tea anywhere in the world can replicate.
Interestingly, the two most popular varieties of Indian tea in the world originate from two very diverse regions – the dizzying heights of Darjeeling and the tropical plains of Assam – epitomising the sheer diversity of India.
Tea production in India was virtually non-existent till the late 17th century. A series of efforts were undertaken by the British to understand the art and science of tea cultivation. While it took much time and effort, the results of their experiments in Darjeeling and Assam – now two of the largest growing regions of Indian tea – greatly surpassed their expectations.
A number of enterprising planters took over and tea cultivation rapidly proliferated across the foothills of the Himalayas and the hills of South India (now the home for Nilgiri tea). Over time, knowledge and application of cultivation practices passed from generation to generation. The rich legacy that the Indian tea industry stands on today is unparalleled anywhere in the world, just like the natural conditions in tea growing areas that are particularly favourable to the tea plant.
The tea plant has very specific requirements in terms of soil and climatic conditions. Indian tea is primarily cultivated in the hills of North-eastern and Southern states.
Some of the most exquisite and globally acclaimed varieties of Indian tea hail from plantations in Darjeeling, Assam and Nilgiris, although several varieties of Indian tea are also grown across other Indian states as well. Although tea drinking in India emerged in the previous century, it has really caught on rapidly.