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India

Wikipedia: India | Official Government Website: india.gov.in 
Updated: Mar. 17, 2014 

Browse Teas From India (772) - Read Reviews (335)

Table of contents:
About India | Tea-Producing Regions of India | Styles of Tea Produced in India | Best (Top-Rated) Indian Teas

About India

Tea gardens with a forested mountain in the backgroundTea gardens near Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India. Public domain photo by Chaitanya Lala.
India is one of the most important tea-producing countries, and also the second-largest country by population. The tea plant is indigenous to eastern and northern India, and tea may have been produced and consumed in India for thousands of years in small quantities, probably for medicinal purposes, but the widespread cultivation of tea in India did not begin until the British introduced it from China.

Currently, India, together with China, is one of the two largest producers and consumers of tea. Most of the tea produced in India is consumed in India, although India does export substantial amounts of both mass-produced bulk tea and high-quality specialty or artisan tea.

Types of tea produced in India

Historically, India produced only black tea. In recent years, however, there has been a growth of green, white, and even oolong Indian teas, although the vast majority of tea and styles of tea produced in India are still black teas. The most famous tea-producing regions of India are Darjeeling and Assam, although Nilgiri and Sikkim also produce notable teas, and teas are grown in many other regions as well. Darjeeling has diversified into green, oolong, and white teas more than any other region of India.
Map of average annual rainfall in IndiaAverage annual rainfall across India, by Planemad, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. Tea is only able to be grown in the wetter (darker blue) regions.

India's geography and climate and its influence on tea production

India has a diverse climate, ranging from tropical to subtropical. The South Asian monsoon produces a strong seasonality of precipitation, with dry winters and wet summers. Precipitation also varies regionally and by altitude.

The tea plant has high moisture requirements, and only the wetter parts of India are suitable for growing tea. These include the Western Ghats, which catch moisture coming off the Indian ocean, and Northeast India, which has across-the-board higher precipitation even in lowland areas. A small region in far north India, following the foothills of the Himalayas, also has higher rainfall and produces a small amount of tea.

Tea production in north and northeast India

Most of the best-known tea-growing regions of India are located in the northeastern corner of India, near the foothills of the Himalayan mountains, and near the borders with Bangladesh and Nepal. These regions include Darjeeling and Assam, as well as lesser-known regions including Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Jalpaiguri, and Sikkim. Although a band of similar climate extends west and north along the length of the Himalayas, almost the whole way to the border with Pakistan, there are only small, isolated tea gardens in the far northern areas, such as Himachal Pradesh.

Tea production in south India

South India has some important tea-growing regions as well, along the mountain range that runs north-south along the west coast of south India. The region in South India best-known for tea is Nilgiri, and Kerala also produces tea. As one travels east along the Deccan Plateau, rainfall quickly falls off, leaving only a narrow band along the western edge of the country where tea is grown.

Tea-Producing Regions of India

Arunachal Pradesh, India

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Assam, India

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Bihar, India

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Darjeeling, India

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Himachal Pradesh, India

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Jalpaiguri, India

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Kerala, India

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Sikkim, India

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Tamil Nadu, India

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Styles of Tea Produced in India

This is a selection, not an exhaustive listing, of the styles of tea most commonly produced in India.

Chai / Spiced TeaChai / Spiced Tea
Black TeaBlack Tea
Tulsi / Holy Basil TeaTulsi / Holy Basil Tea
Flavored Black TeaFlavored Black Tea
English BreakfastEnglish Breakfast
Green TeaGreen Tea
Fruit Black TeaFruit Black Tea
Vana TulsiVana Tulsi
Irish BreakfastIrish Breakfast
Flavored Green TeaFlavored Green Tea
Herbal TeaHerbal Tea
Miscellaneous Tea-only BlendMiscellaneous Tea-only Blend
Earl Grey TeaEarl Grey Tea
AssamAssam
White TeaWhite Tea
Darjeeling White TeaDarjeeling White Tea
PassionflowerPassionflower
Earl Grey Green TeaEarl Grey Green Tea

Best Indian Teas

The notion of the "best" Indian teas is subjective, because different people have different tastes. We present the most often-rated and highest-rated teas produced in India, and allow you to draw your own conclusions.

Most Often-Rated Teas

Picture of Assam

Assam

Brand:Two Leaves Tea
Style:Assam
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Sachet
51
14 Ratings
Picture of Original Tulsi Tea

Original Tulsi Tea

Brand:Organic India
Style:Tulsi / Holy Basil Tea
Caffeine:Caffeine Free
Leaf:Teabag
31
8 Ratings
Picture of Mtn High Chai

Mtn High Chai

Brand:Two Leaves Tea
Style:Chai / Spiced Tea
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Sachet
49
8 Ratings
Picture of Darjeeling

Darjeeling

Brand:Twinings
Style:Darjeeling Black Tea
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
33
7 Ratings
Picture of Golden Chai™ - Spiced Assam Black Tea

Golden Chai™ - Spiced Assam Black Tea

Brand:Numi Organic Tea
Style:Chai / Spiced Tea
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
48
6 Ratings

Top-Rated Indian Teas

Picture of BH02: Holy Basil Purple Leaf

BH02: Holy Basil Purple Leaf

Brand:Upton Tea Imports
Style:Tulsi / Holy Basil Tea
Caffeine:Caffeine Free
Leaf:Loose
98
5 Ratings
Picture of Assam TGFOP Black Tea

Assam TGFOP Black Tea

Brand:Arbor Teas
Style:Assam
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
97
3 Ratings
Picture of Puttabong, Darjeeling First Flush 2014.

Puttabong, Darjeeling First Flush 2014.

Brand:Happy Earth Tea
Style:Darjeeling First Flush
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Loose
95
3 Ratings
Picture of Darjeeling (Sachets)

Darjeeling (Sachets)

Brand:Hampstead Tea
Style:Darjeeling Black Tea
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Leaf:Teabag
92
4 Ratings

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