TEA Trip Two – Assam, The Land Of TEA!

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Assam is the world’s largest tea-growing region and the second most commercial tea producing region in the world after southern China. To understand it’s history, culture and trade, right from it’s roots, we decided to travel to Assam. For me, an ardent tea addict, the journey here was a very willing step into nirvana.

Assam, as per data, comprises of more than 850 tea estates and more than 2500 tea gardens, that immediately arouse an almost fanatical devotion. Today, Assam produces more than half of the tea produced in India, which accounts to around 400 million kgs of tea from it’s gardens alone. Most of the premium grade tea is either auctioned or exported to other countries, through the auction center in Guwahati. Rest, which is left, is sold to the domestic market. This is sadly one of the prime reasons why most of the well-established tea brands in India are selling very low-grade tea.

Tea is produced in the low lying areas in Assam, unlike Darjeeling and Nilgiris, which are grown at higher altitudes. This is the reason why Assam tea is brisk, malty, bright and strong, while Darjeeling tea is light colored and musky, with floral aroma. Most of the tea gardens here are situated in Jorhat, which is called the ‘Tea Capital of The World’.

Assam tea has a very rich and fascinating history. It is manufactured specifically from the plant Camellia Sinensis, Assamica family. Assam teas or blends, are sold as ‘breakfast’ tea globally. For instance, Irish Breakfast Tea, a maltier and stronger variety, consists of small-sized Assam tea leaves. Infact, English tea and Scottish breakfast tea include tea from Assam. Interestingly, Pu-erh, one of China’s most famous tea, is essentially a green tea of the big-leafed assamica. Besides it’s distinctive black tea, Assam also produces smaller quantities of green and white tea.

I spent adventurous days exploring the local markets, visiting various tea vendors, shops and learning about tea, first hand from the local businesses. One such great moments in Guwahati was a brilliant evening of tea tasting and tea-talk, with Absolute Tea. Later, we headed to 11th Avenue, an urban café and bistro, overlooking a lake. A perfect evening spot, for a cup of tea. I met the owner Gaurav Das, and had wonderful chat over few rounds of exotic teas here. I would highly recommend this place to anyone looking to spend time reading, writing or simply enjoying the beautiful view by the lake, in this tea divine city.

Thus, my TEAlightful time in Assam came to an end and after many cups of brilliant tea, I was all set to catch my early morning train to Nagaland – to discover something enchanting, from the land of the warriors. I could smell the tea in the air.

8 thoughts on “TEA Trip Two – Assam, The Land Of TEA!

  1. Thanks for sharing your lovely experience. I was very happy to stumble on to your blog. How timely! We love tea, live in a tea mad city of Victoria, British Columbia. We are visiting Assam in March for the purpose of exploring the Kaziranga Conservation Area, Brahmaputra River and delighting in Assam Tea. Will definitely visit the places you have recommended while in Guwahati. We would like to stay at some small tea estates near Jorhat or Dibrugarh. Much appreciated If you can kindly recommend some places.
    PS loved your piece on Nagaland and will look for opportunity to take a side trip if possible.
    Cheers,
    Swapna

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Swapna, greetings from New Delhi! Thank you for your appreciation and kind words, they really mean a lot. I am glad you enjoyed reading my blog posts on Assam and Nagaland, and loved travelling along. Good to hear you would be visiting Assam soon. It’s actually not advised to stay at the tea estates as most of them don’t have occupancy for visitors. It’s better to stay in nearby hotels, which are around 30-45 mins away. We had our arrangements done through friends but I can check and let you know. Can you pls mail me at loveforteadelhi@gmail.com and I’ll get back to you?
    Good day 🙂

    Like

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