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Masala Chai

Chai cannot be described by just one word. Spicy, strong, malty, earthy – the list is never ending. Add a dash of cardamom, a hint of ginger, sprinkle some cinnamon, the possibilities are endless. And the inimitable ingredient that makes this brew so special and versatile is, Indian Black Tea. So the next time you’re in the mood, any mood for that matter, grab a spiced-up cup of Indian Masala Chai.

Basic Components of Masala Chai
The base tea is usually a strong black tea such as Assam, so that the spices and sweeteners do not overpower it. The traditional Masala Chai is a spiced beverage with different proportions of warming spices. A base of ground ginger and green cardamom pods is used in the spice mixture. Usually other spices are also added to this base, for example cinnamon, clove, fennel, pepper etc. It is a common practice in India to add ginger or clove in tea to get relief from cough and cold. Masala Chai also gives warmth during the winters to the tea drinkers living at high altitudes or cold regions.






Sikkim Tea

Elevation:Teas are grown at elevations ranging from 1400 to 2000 metres above sea level.
Annual Rainfall:274 to 358cm

The origin of tea industry in the mountainous state of Sikkim is a recent phenomenon. For the first time in 1960, an attempt had been made by the Government of Sikkim to establish a Tea Estate in Kewzing, South Sikkim, to accommodate Tibetan Refugees from the nearby Tibetan Refugee camp in Rabongla. Later, the Temi forest, about 21 kilometres south of Kewzing, was identified for the creation of a Tea garden. By 1968, the Tea garden was established successfully, and it is presently known as Temi Tea Garden. Since then, Temi Tea Estate has been engaged in the business of production of Orthodox Black Tea.

Temi Tea is an exceptional quality tea grown in the Himalayan state of Sikkim. The tea crop constitutes TRA certified clones, and Chinary seeds which are ideal for the manufacture of flavored teas. It has been Certified 100% Organic by IMO Control, a member group of IMO Switzerland, since 2008.

Tea Attributes:The premium grade of Temi Tea is light in colour with a delicate flavor and aroma. White and golden tips indicate the high quality of tea.
Besides the above regions, tea is also produced in smaller quantities in the states of Karnataka, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland.






Tripura Tea

The cultivation of tea in Tripura was started entirely by Indian enterprise, unlike in other parts of the country where British planters had taken the lead. Tripura has a history of tea plantations dating back to the year 1916 when the erstwhile ruler of the princely state of Tripura, Maharaja Birendra Kishore Manikya, granted leases of extensive land for tea cultivation exclusively to Indian planters. Thus, tea cultivation started in Tripura in the first quarter of the twentieth century owing to the industrious efforts of some Indian entrepreneurs, with the active encouragement of the state, as opposed to the other places in the country, where it was mainly propagated by European planters.

Tea is the second largest organized industry in the state of Tripura after Rubber. The state receives annual rainfall of about 2100 mm uniformly distributed throughout the year and the temperature varies from 10 degrees Celsius to 35 degrees Celsius. The soil of the state is generally fertile. Thus, the agro-climatic condition of the state is suitable for tea cultivation. Mainly CTC tea is produced in Tripura, with a small amount of green tea being also produced. The nearest auction centre is Guwahati in Assam.






Dooars-Terai tea

Elevation:Teas are grown at elevations ranging from 90 to 1750 metres above sea level.
Annual Rainfall:About 350cm.

Nestling just below Darjeeling, at the Himalayan foothills, is a land shared by jumbos, rhinos, deciduous forests, gurgling streams and tea. The tea-growing areas in the district of Jalpaiguri, West Bengal, along with a small part of Coochbehar distrcict, is popularly known as Dooars, which is bound by Bhutan and Darjeeling district in the northwest, Coochbehar district and Bangladesh in the south and Assam in the east. Dooars (which means doors in Bengali, Assamese and Nepali) is the gateway to the North East and Bhutan. Although tea cultivation in Dooars was primarily engineered by the British planters through their agency enterprises, there was significant contribution of Indian entrepreneurs who set up considerable number of new plantations with the issuance of grants of lands in a phased manner.
Tea Attributes:The Dooars-Terai tea is characterized by a bright, smooth and full-bodied liquor that’s a wee bit lighter than Assam tea.






Kangra tea

Elevation:Teas are grown at elevations ranging from 900 to 1400 metres above sea level.
Annual Rainfall:270 to 350cm.

For Kangra, the ‘Valley of Gods’, nothing less than the majestic Dhauladhar mountain range could have served as a backdrop. And to toast its beauty, there is nothing finer than Kangra tea. The climate, the characteristic terrain and soil conditions, and the coolness of the snow clad mountains in Himachal’s famous Kangra region; all play a role in crafting a delightfully distinct cup of quality tea. Particularly the first flush with an aroma and flavour that has an unmistakable tinge of fruitiness. The history of Kangra tea dates back to 1849 when Dr. Jameson, then superintendent of the Botanical Tea Gardens, pronounced the region ideal for tea cultivation. Being one of India’s smallest tea regions makes Kangra green and black tea all the more exclusive. While the black tea has a sweet lingering after taste, the green tea has a delicate woody aroma. The demand for Kangra tea has been increasing steadily and much of it is bought by natives and exported to Kabul and Central Asia via Peshawar. Kangra tea is a registered Geographical Indication (GI).
Tea Attributes:The first flush of Kangra tea is known for quality, unique aroma and tinge of fruity flavor. A little milder than Darjeeling tea in terms of flavour, Kangra tea has more body and liquor.






Munnar tea

Elevation:Teas are grown at elevations ranging from 950 to 2600 metres above sea level.
Annual Rainfall:130 to 700cm.

Munnar will welcome you with a carpet of tea bushes. The land where the three mountain streams Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala meet is home to tea that is a blend of health and taste. The teas are cultivated in the undisturbed ecosystem of the Western Ghats. With some tea plantations at 2200 m above sea level, Munnar has some of the highest growing tea regions in the world. Tea gardens interspersed with fuel plantations and ‘Sholas’ are one of the unique features of this area. Munnar orthodox tea is known for its distinctive clean and medium toned fragrance of sweet biscuit in dip malt. The golden yellow brew with an orange depth is a combination of strength and briskness. Munnar may be known for its tea, but it has enough reasons to draw a nature-lover to it. The beauty of its pristine valleys, mountain, rivers and flora and fauna-rich mountains are fascinating.

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.






Nilgiri tea

Elevation:Teas are grown at elevations ranging from 1000 to 2500 metres above sea level.
Annual Rainfall:150 to 230cm.
The beautiful Nilgiri Hills, sprawling through the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, are home to the pastoral Toda tribe and tea gardens that create the fragrant cup of tea. Nilgiri tea has a slightly fruity, minty flavour, probably because trees like the Blue Gum and Eucalyptus dot the region. And perhaps the spices produced in close proximity to the tea gardens lend the light brew its briskness. The balanced blend of flavour and body makes Nilgiri tea a ‘blender’s dream’. The Nilgiri Hills aka the ‘Blue Mountains’ come under the influence of both south-west and north-east monsoons; a reason why the tea leaves grown here are plucked around the year. Nilgiri Orthodox tea is a registered Geographical Indication (GI). Both Orthodox and CTC varieties of tea are manufactured in this region.
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 flavoured tea for a stressful day.






Assam tea

Elevation:Teas are grown at elevations ranging from 45 to 60 metres above sea level.
Annual Rainfall:250 to 380cm.
Assam means ‘one without equal’ and that is really true about its teas. They say ‘you haven’t woken up fully if you haven’t sipped Assam tea’. The strong tea, grown on the rolling plains by the Brahmaputra river that weaves her way through vales and hills, is famous for its smooth malty flavour. A taste crafted by the region’s rich loamy soil, unique climate and liberal rainfall. Assam is not just the largest contiguous tea-growing area in the world. It is also a refuge for endangered species like the One-horned Rhino, Red-headed Vulture and the Hoolock Gibbon and of course, mind-boggling diversity. It is a land that protects and preserves. Just like the Tocklai Experimental Station, the world’s oldest and largest research station of its kind, carries out clonal propagation and constant research so that the strength of the full-bodied liquor is retained. All to make sure that the tea bushes yield high quality tea. Both Orthodox and CTC (Crush/Tear/Curl) varieties of tea are manufactured here.
Assam Orthodox Tea is a registered Geographical Indication (GI).

Tea Attributes:Assam Tea has a rich, deep-amber colour and is famous for its rich, full-bodied cup. It is known for its 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.






Darjeeling tea

Elevation: Teas are grown at elevations ranging from 600 to 2000 metres above sea level.
Annual Rainfall: The average annual rainfall in Darjeeling ranges around the 309cm mark.

Darjeeling Tea — as exotic and mysterious as the hills themselves. A tradition steeped in history and a mystique that is felt in every sip. Walk into the cloudy mountains and feel light hearted.

First planted in the early 1800s, the incomparable quality of Darjeeling Teas is the result of its locational climate, soil conditions, altitude and meticulous processing. About 10 million kilograms are grown every year, spread over 17,500 hectares of land. The tea has its own special aroma, that rare fragrance that fills the senses. Tea from Darjeeling has been savoured by connoisseurs all over the world. Like all luxury brands Darjeeling Tea is aspired to, worldwide.

Darjeeling lies to the north east of India, among the great Himalayas, in the state of West Bengal. Every morning, as the mist rises from the mountains, women tea pluckers make their way up the steep mountain paths towards the 87 fabled gardens that have been producing the highly prized black teas of Darjeeling. Located on grand estates veiled in the clouds, the gardens are in fact plantations that, at times, stretch over hundreds of acres. But, they are still gardens, because all tea grown here carries the name of the estate, or garden, in which it is grown.

True Darjeeling Tea possesses a flavour and quality, which sets it apart from other teas. As a result it has won the patronage and recognition of discerning consumers worldwide for more than a century. Darjeeling Tea that is worthy of its name cannot be grown or manufactured anywhere else in the world.

All teas produced in the tea growing areas of India, including Darjeeling, are administered by the Tea Board, India under the Tea Act, 1953. Since its establishment, the Tea Board has had sole control over the growing and exporting of Darjeeling Tea and it is this which has given rise to the reputation enjoyed by Darjeeling Tea. The Tea Board has been engaged in the protection and preservation of this treasured icon of India’s cultural heritage as a Geographical Indication on a worldwide basis.

To authenticate the regional origin of Darjeeling Tea, Tea Board has developed a unique logo, known as the Darjeeling logo.

At a legal level, Tea Board is the owner of all intellectual property rights in the Darjeeling word and logo both in common law and under the provisions of the following statutes in India:

  • The Trade Marks Act 1999 DARJEELING word and logo are registered certification marks of Tea Board;
  • The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999: DARJEELING word and logo were the first Geographical Indications to be registered in India in the name of the Tea Board;
  • The Copyright Act, 1957: The DARJEELING logo is copyright protected and registered as an artistic work with the Copyright Office.

Use of the Darjeeling word and logo are protected as Geographical Indications in India and as Certification Trade Marks in UK, USA and India.

Use of the DARJEELING word and logo are protected as Geographical Indications (GI) in India and as Certification Trade Marks (CTM) in UK, USA, Australia and Taiwan. A major development in this area is the registration of the Darjeeling word as a Community Collective Mark (CCM) in the European Union. On 12th November, 2007 an application had been filed for registration of DARJEELING as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) under European Council Regulation 510/2006, which was finally adopted as "Darjeeling PGI" on 20th Oct 2011. This registration is a vital step in the protection of DARJEELING, as DARJEELING will now be protected, inter alia, against any misuse, imitation or evocation or use accompanied by expressions such as "style", "type", "method", "as produced in", "imitation" or similar types in the EU countries.

As a pre-requisite for domestic and international protection of Darjeeling as a certification trademark and a Geographical Indication, the Tea Board has formulated and put in place a comprehensive certification scheme wherein the definition of Darjeeling Tea has been formulated to mean tea that:

  • is cultivated, grown or produced in the 87 tea gardens in the defined geographic areas and which have been registered with the Tea Board;
  • has been cultivated, grown or produced in one of the said 87 tea gardens;
  • has been processed and manufactured in a factory located in the defined geographic area; and
  • when tested by expert tea tasters, is determined to have the distinctive and naturally occurring organoleptic characteristics of taste, aroma and mouth feel, typical of tea cultivated, grown and produced in the region of Darjeeling, India.

The certification scheme put in place by the Tea Board covers all stages from the production level to the export stage and meets the dual objective of ensuring that (1) tea sold as Darjeeling Tea in India and worldwide is genuine Darjeeling Tea produced in the defined regions of the District of Darjeeling and meets the criteria laid down by the Tea Board and (2) all sellers of genuine Darjeeling Tea are duly licensed. This licensing program affords the Tea Board the necessary information and control over the Darjeeling Tea industry to ensure that tea sold under the certification marks adheres to the standards for DARJEELING Tea as set forth by the Tea Board.

Thus, only 100% Darjeeling Tea is entitled to carry the DARJEELING logo. While purchasing Darjeeling Tea, you need to look for Tea Board’s certification and license number, or else you will not get the taste and character that you should expect from Darjeeling Tea

There is a rare charm in the taste of Darjeeling Tea which makes it irresistible. The fine wine of teas is ideally to be drunk from the finest porcelain. After all, these are the rarest and most prestigious of teas and are savoured worldwide. The delicate flavour of the tea can be savoured at its best sans milk and sugar.

Tea Attributes:The Darjeeling tea when brewed gives a colour of pale lemon to rich amber. The brew is said to have remarkable varying degrees of visual brightness, depth and body. The flavour emanating from the brew is a fragrance with a complex and pleasing taste and aftertaste with attributes of aroma, bouquet and point. The organoleptic characteristics of the Darjeeling tea brew are commonly referred to as mellow, smooth, round, delicate, mature, sweet, lively, dry and brisk.





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Tea Boeard india

Tea is one of the industries, which by an Act of Parliament comes under the control of the Union Govt. The genesis of the Tea Board India dates back to 1903 when the Indian Tea Cess Bill was passed. The Bill provided for levying a cess on tea exports - the proceeds of which were to be used for the promotion of Indian tea both within and outside India. The present Tea Board set up under section 4 of the Tea Act 1953 was constituted on 1st April 1954.

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