Indian Sub-Continent Black Teas

Despite there being a slight downturn in black tea consumption as well as production, India is still the world’s greatest producer of fermented tea. China is still the world’s largest overall producer of tea, green as well as fermented and semi-fermented.

The tea plant was deliberately taken, stolen, from China and after quite a few ‘stumbles’ finally found its feet and took off, enjoying the high altitude and warm but very humid conditions found especially in north-eastern India.

Black tea was the preferred production method by the British population and is usually taken with milk and often sugar. It has been noted that in all the countries the Romans occupied they introduced grapes for producing their national drink and certainly it is true for the British Empire; Kenya tea production ranks world third after India and former Ceylon forth.

Assam is the largest producer and most productive of all the tea growing areas of India followed by Terai, also highly productive per hectare, next comes Kerala still a significantly large growing area. Sikkim and the other North Indian states whilst being slightly more productive than Kerala are only a third in size. Finally Darjeeling, half as big again than all the other North Indian states combined but producing only a quarter the amount per hectare as Sikkim and a fifth of the amount Terai produces. Darjeeling tea gardens rely on high quality production rather than producing quantity.

This has led to a certain amount of adulteration and falsification resulting in worldwide Darjeeling sales exceeding well in excess of 60,000 tonnes compared to the actual production of 18,000 tonnes.

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