Origins of the Culture 

Tea drinking in
India first started (or was at least first documented), in 750
B.C.Tea is indigenous to the Northern and Eastern parts of India and
has since grown exponentially, making India one of the largest growers
and producers of tea in the world. The majority of tea is used within
India itself, and since its use by Buddhist monks, has been utilized
for thousands of years. Its use as a drink was started by local regions
in the country using the wild native plants in their area. Since
then, hundreds of varieties are developed and grown, with Darjeeling
and Assam perhaps being the most popular worldwide. The world famous
British East India Company started commercial production of tea in
India and converted massive tracts of land to its production.


Development of the History

In the 16th century, a
Dutch explorer noted that the people used the tea leaves a s a
vegetable side dish, along with garlic and oil as well as boiling the
leaves to make a drink from them. In the 1800s, people in Assam told a
Calcutta publisher that the imported seeds of Chinese tea were now
growing as plants in their area jungle. The British East India Company
took over the cultivation in Assam and in 1837 they established the
first English Tea Garden there. By the turn of the century this region
in Assam became the leader in the entire world, for tea production


India and Tea in the 21st Century

bookchen on flickr

India was recently
surpassed by China (due to the vast acreage available there) as being
the top producer of tea. India is the world's largest tea drinking
country and they have acquired British brands Tetley and Typhoo. Per
person, the average consumption is less than a cup but this is due to
income level (low) and the large population. India does lead the world
in most tea technology but the ways that the crop is harvested varies
by the scope of the terrain and the variety of the tea. Small and
fine-leaved teas are hand plucked, or shears are used if the slopes are
mountainous. Low grade tea for teabags can be harvested by machines and
the fine tea lint created when the tea is being processed is used as
a caffeine source for medicines, soft drinks and other
products. Through the centuries, tea has become integral to the Indian
culture, economy and way of life. Take tea away, and you remove the
essence of this vibrant and populous Asian country.