History of tea dates back to 2732 B.C. when Emperor Shen Nung discovered tea leaves by mistake. This origin of tea was in ancient China, almost 5.000 years back. Lu Yu has mentions this origin of tea in his work - ‘The Classic of Tea’. For Japan, it was Saicho, Eichu, and Kukai who first introduce this beverage.
From the Earl Grey of England to the Matcha of Japan or even the Darjeeling Tea of India, you now have access to different teas, each having a personalized taste. Owing to its taste and mind-soothing essence, tea is now the second most-consumed drink in the world, preceded by water. And everyone has their own story of tea and its significance in their lives.
All varieties come from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis, native to China. There's another species, Camellia Sinensis Assamica, that originated in the Indian state of Assam. Along with these traditional teas, people drink several other drinks made from different kinds of plants. Since they taste similar to traditional tea, these are also known as herbal teas or tisanes. Rooibos tea, chamomile tea, peppermint tea, and lemongrass tea are some of the most popular herbal teas.
The British Empire played a huge role in building the history of Indian tea. It was the British East India Company that brought tea into the limelight in India. According to the history of Indian tea, a renowned English botanist, Joseph Banks, suggested that tea plantations would flourish in India. On his recommendation, a consignment of Chinese tea seeds was brought to India for cultivation in 1780. Robert Kyd led the experiment of cultivating tea on Indian soil.
A few decades later, the bushes of Camellia Sinensis Assamica were discovered in the Upper Brahmaputra Valley by Robert Bruce. He was very intrigued by the plant growing in the wild. And for the first time in the history of tea, one Indian Tea plant was sent to England. Though the Chinese variety couldn’t bear the heat of Assam, the native variety flourished. This gave rise to the tea production in India under the British. As time passed, tea plantations flourished, even for commercial purposes in India. Kumaon, Darjeeling, Garhwal, and Kulu led the way! This started the story of tea production on an industrial scale in the history of Indian tea. Today, India has 13,000 tea gardens with a workforce of more than 2 million people, making India one of the top contributors of tea production on a global level.
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