Tea Growing Regions


Total area under tea : 312,210ha

Production : 507 million kg

Elevation : 45-60 metres

Rainfall: 2.500-3,000 mm

Assam, the land of the one-horned Rhino...the land through which the mighty Brahmaputra winds its majestic course. Assam is rich in nature's bounty and a rainfall ranging from 100 to 150 inches per year - a bounty that ensures a very special place for the teas grown here. These teas are referred to simply as "Assam" and offer rich, full-bodied, bright tea liquor. For those who favoura bright, strong cup of tea, Assam is "your cup of tea."


Asom means 'one without equal' and that is considered by some to be the status of its teas. The ancient name of Assam was Pragjyotispura - the city of eastern light. Chang Kien, a Chinese explorer, traced his country's trade links with Assam as far back as 100BC The state consists of the northern Brahmaputra valley, the middle Karbi and Cachar hills and the southern Barak Valley. It experiences heavy rainfall between March and September, with very high humidity in the summer months. Assam is rich in vegetation, forests and wildlife. The region also has a number of reserved forests, and one of them, Kaziranga, is the home of the rare Indian Rhinoceros. Assam's soil been classified into three types -red loam soil, lateriticsoil and alluvial soil.

India's largest tea research centre managed by the Tea Research Association is located in Jorhat. This centre, which was started in 1911 at Tocklai (Jorhat), has made significant contributions towardsTea Attributes Assam Tea has a rich, deep-amber colour and is famous for its rich, full-bodied cup. It is known for its brisk, strong and malty character, making it a perfect tea to wake up to. The distinctive second flush orthodox Assam teas are valued for their rich taste, bright liquors and are considered to be one of the choicest teas in the world. Assam Orthodox tea has recently been registered as a Geographical Indication in India.

Assam is the single largest tea-growing region in the world. The low altitude, rich loamy soil conditions, ample rainfall and a unique climate help it to produce some of the finest orthodox leaf teas. It is these unique environmental conditions that give the teas their special quality, reputation and character and helps orthodox Assam Teas to qualify as a Geographical Indication (G1). Assam Orthodox teas are defined as 'teas grown and manufactured out of the basic Camellia Sinenses var. Assamica and other variants in tea estates located in the Brahmaputra or Assam Valley in North East India'.


Total area under tea : 17,820 ha

Production : 9.8 million kg

Elevation : 90-1,750 metres

Rainfall: 3,000 -3,300 mm

Nestling in the foothills of the snow-covered Himalayan range, Darjeeling grows one of the world's most exclusive teas at altitudes ranging from 600 to 2,000 meters. A cup of Darjeeling is golden or amber in colour and has a unique, delicate flavour that is referred to as "muscatel," or, having the flavour of muscatel grapes, the typical flavour can also be described as "flowery," and sometimes, "peachy." So delicate and tasty is the flavour that drinkers usually skip the milk and sugar often added to the more bitter, heavier black teas. Darjeeling connoisseurs literally cringe at the thought of adulteration.


Way back in 1841, the Chinese tea bush was found suitable for Darjeeling. Dr A. Campbell brought Chinese tea seeds from Kumaon and planted them in his garden in Darjeeling town. Commercial cultivation began around 1853. By 1874, there were 113 tea gardens in the Darjeeling district alone.ATea Like No Other To this day, the China variety of tea is planted in Darjeeling. and it has been discovered that, when planted anywhere else in the world, the Darjeeling taste cannot be reproduced. It is just something about the hills of Darjeeling that makes this tea 'Darjeeling'. Tea gardens are situated at up to 7,000-ft-high elevations on steep slopes, which provide ideal drainage for the generous rainfall the district receives. The altitude, the soil, the intermittent cloud and sunshine - and a dash of something unexplained and wondrous - all seem to work together to orchestrate a masterpiece. Today. Darjeeling produces almost 10 million kg of tea a year - only 1 % of all of India's tea. The gardens are called by English, Indian or Nepalese names, many of whose origins tell parts of the story of Darjeeling: Marybong, Ging, Tumsong, and Chamong. Lingia, Sungma, Nagri... each is situated in its own special place in the mountains that grants each garden's tea its own distinctive flavour.

Like a fine wine, Darjeeling also commands among the highest prices for tea in the world. Aside from its unique taste, there are several reasons for this. First of all, there is less of it than other teas. The hilly terrain here is more difficult for pluckers to navigate, making the plucking a slower process, and Darjeeling leaves weigh less than other varieties, due to a more severe withering process and the leaves being smaller. The processing Darjeeling goes through is also the very exacting, time-consuming Traditional' or 'Orthodox' method, which costs about five times as much to execute compared with the 'Unorthodox' method used to process other teas. .All of these contribute to its exclusivity. Darjeeling tea has been registered as a Geographical Indication in India and is protected internationally.

Dooars and Terai

Total area under tea : 97,280 ha

Production : 216 million kg

Elevation : 90 -1,750 metres

Rainfall: 3,500 mm

By 1874. there were 113tea gardens in Darjeeling district alone. This inspired planters to try out tea cultivation in the Terai region. James White set up the first Terai plantation called Champta in 1862. Planting was then extended to the Dooars. but the Assamese tea bush proved more suited to this region, Gazeldubi was the first Dooars garden, and by 1876 the area boasted 13 plantations, which in 1877 led the British to set up the Dooar.s Tea Planters'Association. The Dooars and Terai gardens account for an annual production of 226 million kg, or over a quarter of India's total tea crop, with September considered an important month. The TAI has 48 member gardens in the bell.


Lying in the Himalayan foothills, the Dooars have great natural beauty. Wildlife-rich tropical forests, innumerable hill streams cutting across the green carpet of tea gardens, undulating plains and low hills rising up from the rivers. The name Dooars is derived from 'doors' as the region is the gateway to the northeast of India and Bhutan. Dooars is also the gateway to the hill station of Darjeeling and the Sikkim region and is famous for its tea gardens, planted by the British. The elevation of the Dooars area ranges from 90 m to 1750 m. There are innumerable streams and rivers flowing through these fertile plains from the mountains of Bhutan. Average rainfall of the area is about 3,500 mm. Monsoon generally starts from the middle of May and continues until the end of September. Winters are cold with Foggy mornings and nights. Summer is mild and constitutes a very short period of the year. The economy of Dooars is based on the three Ts Tea, Tourism and Timber. Thousands of people arc engaged as labourers in the tea estates and factories.


Total area under tea : 2.348 ha

Production : 0.8 million kg

Elevation : 700-1,000 metres

Rainfall: 2,300-2,500 mm

In Himachal Pradesh, tea is grown in the Mandi and Kangra distncts over an area of 2,063 hectares. Kangra, known as "the valley of gods," is famous lor its distinct flavoured tea. Below the towering and exquisitely beautiful snow-clad Dhauladhar Mountain, tea has been grown on the gentle slopes of the outer Himalayas since 1949.


In 1849, Dr. Jameson conducted a feasibility survey of the valley of Kangra in Himachal Pradesh and found it suitable for tea cultivation. He brought China tea plants from the nurseries at Almora and Dehradun and planted them in Government gardens at Kangra, Nagrota and Bhawama. Despite having suffered a good deal during transit, the plants grew well indeed. This encouraged the government to go ahead and establish the tea industry in the valley. The Kangra tea industry occupied prime position with respect to its quality from the last quarter of the 19th century until date. Both black and green teas are manufactured in the Kangra valley. The predominating black leas were Pekoe, Pekoe Suchong, Coarse teas and Fannings, while among green teas, Hyson, Young Hyson and Coarse grades were the most popular ones.


Total area under tea : 66,175 ha

Production : 135 million kg

Elevation : 1,000-2,634 metres

Rainfall: 1,000-1,500 mm

Nilgiri Tea, one of India's most distinctive teas, has been named after the Nilgiris or Blue Mountains where it is grown. The range is called the Blue Mountains because of the saxe-blue Kutinji flower which covers the hills when it blooms once in 12 years. Situated in South India, this picturesque range of undulating hills has tea growing at elevations ranging from 1,000 meters to 2,500 meters. Rainfall varies from 60 inches to 90 inches annually. These conditions favour the fine, elegant flavour and brisk liquor of Nilgiri teas. The combination of fragrance and briskness makes Nilgiri a truly unique tea, the likes of which cannot be found anyhere else in the world. If you like a fragrant tea with good body and superlative flavour. Nilgiri should be the one for you


The Nilgiris was originally a summer retreat for the Europeans. John Sullivan, who built Stone House, his home in Ooty in 1823, was followed by several other Europeans. Later, when the Duke of Buckingham was Governor of Madras he started the practice of moving the government to the hills for the summer. Tea was planted on an experimental farm in the Ketti Valley in 1853, but the first full scale efforts to plant tea in the Nilgiris were on Thiashola and Dunsandle Estates in 1859. In 1969, Glenmorgan became the first estate in South India to produce Green tea.

Nilgiri tea now accounts for about 92 million kg per year, which is about 10% of the total tea production of India. Afull-Hedged training centre set up with support from the Tea Board of India has been conducting regular training courses for planters with large gardens as well as small growers, on the modern aspects of crop husbandry and tea manufacture.

Tea attributes

A deliciously fragrant and exquisitely aromatic tea, with high tones of delicate floral notes and a golden yellow liquor. Crisply brisk and bright. Lingering notes of dusk flowers with an undercurrent of briskness. Creamy mouth feel. A truly flavourful tea for a stressful day. Nilgiri Orthodox tea has recently been registered as a Geographical Indication in India.


Total area under tea : 12,625 ha

Production : 30 million kg

Elevation: 900-1,600 metres

Rainfall: 3,000-3,800 mm

Spanning an area of 389 sq km of magnificent hills ranging from 900 to 1,600 metres, the Anamallais are wedged between Tamil Nadu and Kerala and just across the hills from the High Ranges. With over 12,000 hectares under tea, it occupies an important place in the planting map of South India. The Tea Research Foundation, the second largest tea research institute managed by UPASI, is situated in the Anamallais.


Up to the middle of the 19th Century, this area was dense evergreen tropical rainforest with trees towering up to heights of 35 metres, with very little undergrowth. Two early pioneers, Carvesh Marsh and C.R.T Congreve, came to the district in 1857 and put up a camp at Paralai, where they planted coffee. It was only by 1908 that tea was planted at Paralai, where the pioneers had planted coffee more than half a century ago

The tribe of the 'Kaders' live on the periphery of the tea plantations. Their only contact with the early planters was as 'indiffrent guides through the jungle, clearing the undergrowth". The original plantations were permitted subject to the Kaders being at liberty to enter the earmarked lands and to collect minor produce from it.

Tea attributes

Medium to high tone fragrance. Biscuity to floral notes. Lingering, biscuity aroma. Golden saffron liquor. Brisk and fairly bright. Strong and vibrant, complex and intense. Long finish of briskness. A great tea to provide the punch and verve to start t he day. Amorning refresher!


Total area under tea : 5470 ha

Production : 16 million kg

Elevation: 850-1,400 metres

Rainfall: 2,000-2,500 mm

The evergreen forests of the Wayanad-Nilgiris range in Kerala and Tamil Nadu mark the transition zone between the northern and the southern eco-regions of the Western Ghats. This is a quiet place where scenic beauty, wildlife and traditions matter; where simplicity is a virtue.

Located a distance of about 76 km from the sea shore of Calicut, the area is full of plantations, forests and wildlife. The Wayanad hills are contiguous to the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park in Tamil Nadu and the Bandhipur National Park in Karnataka, thus forming a vast mass of land where wild life move about freely.

The earliest plantations in this area dale back to 1845. when coffee was planted here. It was not until 1874 that tea was planted beginning with a few acres at New Hope estate in Ouchterlony Valley.


In the early 1880s, speculating that there was gold in Wayanad, many companies bought up the existing coffee and tea plantations in Cherambadi, Devala and Pundalur. Many mining companies sprouted up in the Wayanad, but they were all financial disasters for the investors.

By 1897 the 'gold bubble' had burst. With coffee having been wiped out by the stem borers and leaf diseases and the dream of gold having died its natural death, planters turned to tea and in 1897 tea planting commenced on Wentworth estate, the property of the erstwhile Wentworth Gold mining Company. Others soon followed and the district became largely a tea area.

Tea attributes

Clean fragrance. Medium toned. Biscuit notes. Earthy reddish liquor. Mild and mellow, Full bodied with light briskness. A born soother.


Total area under tea : 2140 ha

Production : 6 million kg

Elevation: 750-1,000 metres

Rainfall: 2,000-3,500 mm

Chikmagalur is a famous coffee town of the Karnataka region of India about 150 miles from Bangalore. The plantations are located at a height of over 5000 feet. Nestled in the Baba Budan hills of the Sahyadris range, Chikmagalur around which mostoftheteain Kamataka grows, is a calm, serene town full of scenic surprises. The town enjoys a salubrious climate and is famous for its sprawling tea and coffee estates.


Indian coffee has its roots in Chikmagalur. It is believed that Baba Budan (earlier known as Hazrat Jamal) brought the first coffee seeds from Yemen to India. Coffee plantations in Kamataka State date back to 1841 when Thomas Canon planted coffee at Belur. Others followed suit and in spite of coffee's travails in later years the region continued with it and Kamataka is today the largest producer of cofFee in India. Although coffee is king here, this region produces over 5 million kg of tea as well.

Tea Attributes

Simple and fragrant teas from Karnataka. Golden ochre liquor. Fair bodied and fairly brisk. Uncomplicated. Balanced. Medium toned. Short and simple finish. A tea you could drink cup after cup of, throughout the day.

Munnar - Hiah Ranaes

Total area under tea : 13,000 ha

Production : 27 million kg

Elevation : 950-2,600 metres

Rainfall: 1,300-7,000 mm

Munnar, the commercial centre of some of the highest tea growing estates in the world, is breathtakingly beautiful; a haven of peace and tranquility and an idyllic tourist destination in Kerala, India's most popular tourist destination. Set at an altitude of 6,000 feet in Idukki district, Munnar was the favoured summer resort of the erstwhile British rulers in the colonial days. Unending expanses of tea plantations, pristine valleys, mountains and waterfalls, exotic species of flora and fauna in its wild sanctuaries and forests and the aroma of spice scented cool air..Munnarhas all these and more.


Tea plantations in Munnar were started in the 1870s byA.M. Sharp, a European attheA.H. Sharp Parvathy estate (now known as the Silent Valley Estate). In 1895 Finlay, a European company, entered the scene and acquired about 33 tea estates in Munnar. In 1897 the Kannan Devan Hills Produce Company was formed to manage Finlay's estates. In 1964. the Tata Group, an Indian corporate giant, entered into a collaborative venture with Finlay leading to the formation of the Tata-Finlay group. In April 2005 tea plantations under the Tata group were transferred to a new company called Kannan Devan Hills Produce Co, Pvt Ltd, Today the company manages 16 estates spread over about 8,600 hectares of land.

Tea Attributes

Clean and medium toned fragrance of sweet biscuit in a dip malt. Liquor of golden yellow with an orange depth and a rounded cup. Strong bodied with lively briskness, a touch of fruit and a startlingly lingering note of sweetness in the finish. Expect the unexpected. The beauty of the hills beckons you to an inspiring morning of tea. Alot can certainly happen over this cup of tea!


Total area under tea : 14,000 ha

Production : 20 million kg

Elevation : 750-1,350 metres

Rainfall: 2,000-6,000 mm

Ascenic, high altitude area consisting of Peermade (which lies 85 km east of Kottayam), Vagamon, Thekkady and Vandiperiyar through which the River Periyar flows, enjoys a salubrious climate all round the year. The area is surrounded by lush green plantations of tea, coffee, coconut, pepper, cardamom, rubber and eucalyptus and houses one of India's largest wildlife sanctuaries. It was once the summer retreat of the Maharaja of Travancore, who had two palaces here.


In 1802 J. D. Monro opened a coffee clearing on Mope Estate, now a part of Stag brook Estate and was followed almost immediately by Robert Baker on Stag brook and F.G Richardson onTwyford.

Although tea was tried out as an experiment just two years later, it was not until 1875, when the leaf disease appeared and spread rapidly, that the proprietors of coffee estates in the area began planting tea. This progressed rapidly and by 1906, there were 8,000 acres under tea, while those under coffee had come down to 500 acres.

Tea Attributes

Medium fragrance. Reddish liquor with dancing hues of yellow. A fairly balanced tea with body and briskness. Good for the elevenses and as your evening companion