On International Tea Day, let’s take a look at our own backyard, the world famous Assam Tea.
A 172-year-old industry, Assam alone accounts for more than half of India’s total tea production. The estimated annual average production of tea in the state is about 630- 700 million kg.
The malty and strong tea is sold across the globe as one of the most preferred breakfast tea, but what makes it so special?
Robert Bruce in 1823 discovered tea plants growing in the wild in the upper Brahmaputra Valley. Soon after, the Britishers took a keen interest in tea plantations in Assam and a company known as the Assam Company was formed in 1839 to take over the experimental holdings of the East India Company’s Administration over the tea gardens established in Assam till then.
Local tea shrub
While all tea is made from Camellia Sinensis shrub, which originated from China, Assam tea is produced from a local variant called Camellia Sinensis var. Assamica.
It is often sold as a breakfast tea, along with English Breakfast tea. The body of the tea is brisk, malty, and strong, with bright colour, which makes it perfect to start the day with. Also, the aroma and taste of Assam tea compliments breakfast items from all over the world, making it a suitable breakfast brew.
Orthodox and CTC tea
There are two main kinds of Assam tea – Orthodox and CTC tea. Orthodox is a higher quality tea that is entirely hand-rolled to preserve its aroma and flavour. CTC is named after its manufacturing process, which is – crush tear and curl. Unlike orthodox tea, the leaves go through a machine that crushes, tears and finally curls and rolls them into tiny pellets.
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