Published On: Fri, Mar 16th, 2018

Indian Tea – Darjeeling, Assam, Nilgiri Hills

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The British set up the first tea gardens in India in the 1830s, bringing in Chinese experts to improve quality in the early days. Production started in Assam where indigenous plants were discovered. Today Assam accounts for over 50% of Indian tea, followed by Darjeeling and Nilgiri.

Indian Tea, Darjeeling, Assam, Nilgiri Hills

Once a herbal remedy among hill tribes, Indian tea has grown into a national drink and a flourishing export business, second only to China. Indian tea gardens are a popular stop on the tourist trail.

Popular Tea in India, Assam Black Tea

Assam lies in the lowlands of north east India, blessed by a generous rainfall exceeding 100 inch per year. Assam is one of only two places in the world where native tea plants are found. Most plantations are at altitudes of 45-60 metres with one notable exception, Kopili which at 750 metres, produces a widely acclaimed exclusive variety of Assam tea.

Assam tea is said to be brisk and bright, with a slight malt flavour, and often appears as Breakfast Tea. It’s mostly black, though green and white varieties are processed in small amounts. The product bears the logo Tea Board of India and is sold at auction centres

Best Indian Tea, Darjeeling Premium Tea

Darjeeling is the only Indian tea processed from the small leaf variety of Camellia Sinensis, originally smuggled from China. Tucked in the foothills of the Himalaya up to 2000 metres, the Darjeeling estates enjoy cool damp conditions and ideal altitudes to encourage slow growth and mature flavour.

Darjeeling has been dubbed the king of black teas and comes with slightly different taste and fragrance according to estates and harvest times. Spring produces a light tea, autumn a darker brew while poorly oxidised monsoon teas are used for the spicy Masala Chai. Most highly prized is the second flush in June which yields a subtle muscatel flavour with a refreshing after taste. Genuine Darjeeling tea carries a certification logo.

In these lush rolling hills, tea tourism is a profitable sideline, offering tasting opportunities, scenic trails and accommodation on the estates.

Nilgiri Hills, Tea Gardens Tourism

Nilgiri tea grows in the hills of southern India, from the Western Ghats to the Munnar, Kerala and Tamil Nadu districts. Most is produced in small tea gardens where tourists are welcome to browse, taste and relax in a family like atmosphere. Lunch is available in some venues.

The strong flavour and aroma of Nilgiri tea make it a popular ingredient in blends and tea bags. Top of the range are the hand sorted Orange Pekoe, sold at international auctions, and the slightly cheaper machine sorted Broken Orange Pekoe.

About the Author

- Paul Linus is an eminent online journalist who has been writing news, features and editorials on different websites from across the world for about a decade. He can be contacted at

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