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chai-story-part-3-dowry-brings-tea-to-england

By the 8th century, tea had gained widespread acceptance among all classes in China & Japan. As the enthusiastic Europeans started exploring the world during 15th & 16 century, they were mesmerized by the spices of India & tea of China, and thus began Europe’s romance with tea 500 years ago. The Portuguese & Dutch explorers of the late 16th century who were full of praises for tea, returned to their respective countries with small quantities of tea to gift it to the Royalty & shared with their families which led to some awareness of tea in Europe.

chai-story-part-2-singpho-tribe-n-the-wild-tea-shrubs-of-assam

Although documentary evidences dating back to 350 BC prove that tea had its origins in China, there have been speculations of tea being consumed in India as well, albeit in different forms. Contrary to the popular misconception, tea was not really an “imported/foreign” crop, but is an indigenous plant of India. If not for thousands of years, tea has been an integral part for atleast 900 years in different parts of India, the most prominent regions being Arunachal Pradesh & Assam which are the homeland for Singphos, the tribe which has been drinking tea since the 12th century.

indian-chai-a-british-propaganda--the-story-of-tea-in-india

“Khadak chai aur garam samosa on a rainy sunday evening”. Doesn’t this resonate with almost every Indian?  While it cannot be denied that Chai (Indian tea) has become an integral part of Indian lifestyle and is on its way to become the “national drink”, the process in which tea attained this status deserves to be a psychological case study, and is one of the best examples for nation-wide propaganda carried out by the British Crown (pre-independence) & subsequent Governments of India (post-independence).

history-of-the-indian-tea

The credit for creating India's vast tea empire goes to the British, who discovered tea in India and cultivated and consumed it in enormous quantities between the early 1800s and India's independence from Great Britain in 1947.

introduction-to-indian-black-teas

Black tea is made from the leaves of a bush called Camellia sinensis. A process called oxidation turns the leaves from green to a dark brownish-black colour. Oxidation means the leaves are exposed to moist, oxygen-rich air. In India, black teas are produced in Assam, Darjeeling, Nilgiris and Kangra.