Know about the tea growing areas in India
The most prominent among the tea growing areas in India is Assam. It produces the most famous Assam tea brand. Assam region holds the unique distinction of being the largest tea producing area in the world! It is the only region other than China which can boast of its own variety of native tea plant, Camellia sinensis assamica. In Assam planters have set up tea gardens in an area of about 3220 square km. And, it contributes more than half of the total tea produced in India. You will see that most of the tea plantations in Assam are situated at a near sea level height.
Why Assam tea is unique:
The whole area is endowed with a plenty of rainfall. The unique tropical climate of Assam imparts a special distinctive feature to its tea which you say, a malty flavor! And, you won’t find it in any other tea brand in the world. It comes with a very strong body and bright color. This is why Assam tea is the most sought after tea, especially as the morning cup. The first institute in the world dedicated to tea research was established at Jorhat in Assam more than a century ago in 1911. It is the Tocklai Tea Research Institute, one of the most renowned institute in the world in the field of tea research. You will find the best quality Assam tea during the months of May & June from the gardens of Assam.
This area is around 76 Km away from Calicut sea shore in Kerala. Tea gardens in the Wayanad – Nilgiris range occupy an area of 55 square km. This tea producing region is spreading over a high elevation that ranges between 900 to 1400 meters. The tea produced in this region has an earthy red liquor with a clean aroma.
It is situated between the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Tea plantation in this region is covering an area of around 126 square km. Here in the Annamalais, the land elevation is within the range of 900-1600 meters. This area gets a rainfall which is between 300 to 380 cm. The characteristics of tea produced in this area is lingering with a biscuit-like aroma. Tea produced in the Annamalais gives a liquor with golden saffron tint. It is brisk, fairly bright, strong and intense. The credit of introducing tea plantation in the Annamalais goes to the British.
Another most important region among the tea growing areas in India is Darjeeling. Darjeeling produces tea which has a distinctive taste and aroma. For the special characteristics embedded in the Darjeeling tea, it is widely popular around the world with a premium tag. Planters are cultivating tea at an altitude of 600 to 2000 meters. You will see picturesque tea gardens surrounding the sleepy city of Darjeeling. Some of the famous Darjeeling tea gardens whose names you may have heard are Marybong, Tumsong, Ging, Chamong, Lingia etc.
Darjeeling mostly produces black tea. However you will be able to find oolong, green and white teas too, although in a lesser quantity, as very few gardens here produce them. Here is an interesting fact about Darjeeling, each tea garden of Darjeeling produces teas of different characteristics in taste and aroma!Few of its renowned tea estates with their unique distinctive characteristics are Arya, Badamtam, Ging, Happy Valley Pussimbing and Kaley Valley.
(e) Dooars and Terai:
Here you will find tea cultivation in an area of around 1000 sq. km. This region gets rainfall at an average of 350 cm per year. Dooars and Terai region produce approximately 25% of India’s total tea output. Tea from Dooars is clear, black, and heavy with good volumetric count. You can have tea from Terai that has a general characteristics of a tea with a spicy, sweet taste. Some of the tea gardens in this area produce tea which is exceptional in quality in the month of February.
In Karnataka, you will find tea plantations in a comparatively small area which is just above 20 square km. Growers have set up their plantations mostly around Chikmagalur, the coffee capital of Karnataka. Tea planters have chosen mostly those areas where coffee plantation did not succeed. That is why in Karnataka you will see tea plantations in a scattered manner, in between the coffee plantations. You will find most of the tea estates in Karnataka within an elevation of 750 and 1,000 m. Experts categorize Karnataka tea as medium toned, fair bodied, simple and brisk tea. It is a great experience to enjoy Karnataka tea throughout the day without any limit!
Munnar is a beautiful and a popular tourist resort in the Idukki district of Kerala. It has an elevation that ranges between 950 to 2600 m. Here tea plantation covers a total area of 130 square km. Munnar tea gives a golden yellow liquor with briskness and strong body. It is refreshingly clean with medium toned fragrance. Blessed with abundant rainfall up to 700 cm range, Munnar has some of the highest tea growing estates in the world.
(h) Himachal Pradesh:
You will find tea plantation in two districts of Himachal Pradesh which are Mandi and Kangra. Planters in this picturesque hill state have set up tea gardens in an area of about 20 square km. Dr. Jameson first introduced tea in the Kangra valley. The Kangra valley, one of the two tea producing areas in Himachal, produces black tea varieties like Pekoe, Coarse teas and Fannings. Many of the tea enthusiasts are crazy about these varieties. Himachal planters also produce green tea varieties like Hyson, Young Hyson and Coarse grades .
The Nilgiris have a distinctive place in the tea industry map of India. Tea gardens are covering an area of around 700 square km here. The Nilgiris, which is a the hilly upland area, produces around 10% of total tea in India. You will find gardens producing Nilgiri brand of tea in all of the three neighboring states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamilnadu. Mostly small tea growers own tea gardens here . The main characteristics of Nilgiri tea is its intense aroma, elegant fragrance and flavor. It comes with briskness and a dark color.
The Temi Tea Garden is the only tea garden in the north-eastern Indian state of Sikkim. It is located in South Sikkim. Temi Tea Garden is spread over an area of 177 hectares. The garden is laid over a gradually sloping hill. It is considered one of the best garden in India and in the world. It has adopted the guidelines issued by the Institute of Marketology (IMO) of Switzerland to produce organic tea. The organic tea produced in Temi Tea Garden is of top quality. It has huge demand in the international market.
Travancore is a high altitude tea growing area in Kerala, the tourist paradise of India. It is situated on an elevation ranging from 750 m to 1,350 m. This area consists of the tourist heavens of Peermade, Vagamon, Thekkady and Vandiperiyar through which the River Periyar flows. Tea plantation in Travancore covers an area of around 140 square km. Most of these areas are recovered from old coffee plantations. The tea produced here has decent body and briskness. It comes with medium fragrance and yellowish red liquor.