The History of Tea in India

Tea is an integral part of the history of India; we have a habit of waking up with an invigorating cup of tea every morning and tea is served commonly whenever guests come over. However, you might be surprised to know that in spite of being the most consumed beverage of India and being one of the largest producers: Tea was brought to India by the British.

The tea industry in India started to take shape around early 1840. Chinese tea plants, which were first tried out in Assam, were later tested in the high-elevation regions of Darjeeling and Kangra, and it was here that they grew far more healthily. Tea planting in Darjeeling officially began in 1841, when the first superintendent of Darjeeling, Archibald Campbell, experimented by planting a few Chinese tea seeds near his house. Soon after, the first commercial plantation of Darjeeling, Tukvar Tea Estate, was established in the year 1850. Tea gardens in Assam actually do not follow the Indian Standard Time (IST); the local time in Assam’s tea gardens, known as ‘Tea Garden Time’ or Bagantime, is an hour ahead of the IST.

Tea was so foreign to Indians that the Tea Board’s early ads had to include instructions on how to brew the product. The board also distributed small packets of tea, available for one paisa, in villages and to middle-class consumers. The tea shops that exist at India’s current railways stations and docks are a product of the Tea Board’s campaign.

Tea has come a long way after India’s independence, and the people of India are more aware and experimental about the types of tea they drink. The market too has modified according these modern standards of consumers. Tea has evolved and is only getting better over time.

The Kettlery celebrates this beverage of supreme versatility and exotic taste with our bespoke blends. Try our White Chocolate Fondue tea, one of the Oolong teas from our collection, or enjoy our take on the traditional Indian Masala Chai tea.