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The tea industry in India was created to satisfy England’s desire for high quality black teas without dependency on trade with China. Growers and tea experts were experimenting with seeds, plants and cuttings secured from China which they believed would grow in India’s climate. Notably, an indigenous strain of tea plant growing wild in India had been discovered years earlier. The year 1838 marked the first Indian tea harvest, a mere 350 lbs., to be auctioned in London. It was greeted with much excitement and high reviews from tea experts. In 1858 the British East India Company turned its rule over India to Britain. The stage was set for the rapid expansion of tea production. Now India produces more tea than any other country, save China.
Based in tradition almost all of Indian tea production is made into black tea. Here we look at the basic methods of black tea manufacture: orthodox and CTC (cut, tear, and curl). All teas leaves lose much of their moisture when they are laid out in warm rooms and allowed to wither for 18 to 24 hours. After the withering step, the procedures for orthodox and CTC methods diverge. Following the orthodox method, the leaves are then gently rolled for 1 to 3 hours in a machine to bruise, crush or thereby release the leaf’s juices and chemicals.
Using the CTC method the leaves are machine chopped into uniform and very small pieces. After that both methods similarly complete the process. The leaves are next spread out on a table to oxidize. Oxidation is crucial because it is then that the leaves develop their flavor, aroma strength and depth of body. At just the right time the leaves are fired with hot air and oxidation ends.
CTC teas are fine and granular; they steep readily in 2 to 3 minutes and they’re ideal for blending and especially for tea bags. Choose a CTC tea for a quick brew, colorful liquor and strength. More and more countries are converting to CTC production only.
Assam is a major growing area covering the Brahmaputra valley, stretching from the Himalayas down to the Bay of Bengal. There are 655 estates in this area covering some 407,000 hectares. Assam is also where the first strain f native tea plants where identified. The leaves have a distinctive brown and gold fleck when dried that is known as “orange”, a distinction used in India’s grading system.
Their flavor tends to be robust, with a malty pungency that s perfect for breakfast teas.
The Nilgiri region, situated in southern India, forms a hilly plateau at the conjunction of the Eastern and western Ghat mountains. More than 20,000 smallholders grow tea on some 90,000 hectares here. Most Nilgiri tea is used for blending, but the specialty market is growing. Nilgiris tend to have a bright amber cup and refreshing flavour.
History of Bangladesh Tea Industry
History of Bangladesh Tea Industry dates back to 1840 when a pioneer tea garden was established on the slopes of the hills in Chittagong where the Chittagong Club now stands. First commercial tea garden was established in 1857 at Mulnichera in Sylhet. During the partition in 1947, Bangladesh (the then East Pakistan) owned 103 tea estates, covering 26,734 hectares of tea plantation with annual production of 18.36 M.Kg. with an yield of about 639 Kg. per ha. Home consumption was around 13.64 M. Kg. up to 1955. After that home consumption went up rapidly and Government imposed 3% mandatory extension of tea area per year in 1961. Ten years later by 1970, tea area was extended to 42,658 hectares and production was increased to 31.38 M.Kg.
During liberation war in 1971, our tea industry suffered colossal damages which resulted in poor management, high vacancies, insufficient inputs, dilapidated factory machinery, inadequate maintenance etc. leading to lower yield and poor quality of tea. But the industry soon got a big push on behalf of the government through a massive development program (BTRP-1980-92) with the financial and technical assistance of the British ODA and EEC and production increased to 60.14 million kg. with per/ha. yield of 1150kg. in 2005.