Foods of your Choice

Indian Teas to Sip or Spill

Oct 16, 2021
It is made by boiling tea leaves in milk and water with a mixture of aromatic herbs and spices. It has gained worldwide popularity, becoming a feature in many cafes. Different families have different recipes on how to make this. My family prefers using milk, tea, water, ginger and cardamom. But there are endless possibilities. Small, roadside businesses (chai walla), make and deliver tea in chaidaan (metal frame carrier for cups). They either serve it in small glasses or earthen pots. Indians can not live without it. Be it to serve guests or drink it themselves.

In the 1830s, East India Company, became concerned about the Chinese monopoly on tea. They noticed the existence of Assamese tea plants and began to cultivate it.

1. Assamese Tea
Assam tea is manufactured from Camellia sinensis.
They are brisk, matty and with bright color.
They are world's largest tea growing region by production.
Tropical climate of the region contributes to Assam's unique malty taste.
Assam also produces green and white tea. The state is also the second commercial tea production region after Southern China.

2. Nilgiri Tea also called Blue Mountain Tea
Brisk, fragrant and full-bodied tea. It takes three to four minutes to be prepared.
Grown from Camellia sinensis.
Processed in Nilgiris district, Tamil Nadu.
Introduced to Nilgiri mountain by British in 1835 from China.
The tea is of sufficient quality and is unique. Hence, registered as geographical indication.
Light, full bodied or well rounded.
Has higher Quinic acid and lower tannins that other tea.
Useful for making iced tea since its clarity remains despite cooling.

3. Darjeeling Tea
Floral, fruit aroma and muscatel.
Made from Camellia sinensis.
Processed in Darjeeling or Kalimpong, West Bengal.
Registered Geographical Indication.
Harvested by plucking the plant's top two leaves and bud from Mar to Nov.
First planted in region in mid-1800s.
Environmental factors combined with history of organized cultivation and processing has created a terroir unique to Darjeeling tea.
Marketed as Champagne of Teas.