“Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.” ~Catherine Douzel
With spring trying to poke its head out from under winter, I am dedicating this installment to my favorite cold weather drink. I drink it every afternoon especially late in the day as the temperature seems to fall as evening comes. This wonderful yet simple drink seems to warm me up all the way to my toes.
Let the voyage to India begin…
The word “tea” is synonymous with “India” since it is the largest producer of tea in the world today, growing a quarter of the world’s tea. (China is second.) India has been growing tea for more than 2500 years. The Ramayana, the ancient Hindu story about the adventures of the Hindu deity, Rama, mentioned that tea was consumed during those times, approximately 500 years BC.
Tea requires a hot and humid tropical climate with acidic soil to grow. In India it grows abundantly on the hills in north and east side of the country. Traditionally, tea leaves were picked by hand but machines pick the bulk of the tea today. The method of harvesting the leaves today is based on the terrain and the type of leaves grown. For centuries it was grown and consumed locally. With the arrival of the British East India Company in the 1820s, large areas of land were converted to tea plantations to supply tea to the rest of the world. More than two thirds of the tea that is grown in India today is still consumed within its borders.
- Terai and Dooars along the Himalayas south of Darjeeling,
- the Cachar district in the state of Assam in north India,
- Dehradun in the state of Uttarakhand in north India,
- Manipur a state in northeast India,
- Kangra on the western Himalayas, and
- Travancore, a region at the southern tip of the state of Kerala.
I hope you enjoyed our voyage around India to find the perfect cup of tea. Next year I plan to travel to some new parts of India and visit a tea plantation first hand.
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