A Brief History of Assam Tea
Friday, 12 August 2016 | The Tea Makers of London
Location, biodiversity, flora and fauna
The state of Assam is located in Northeast India and runs along the river Brahmaputra. Geomorphic studies have concluded that the Brahmaputra - which is considered the life-line of Assam - is an antecedent river, older than the Himalayas.
Located south of the Eastern Himalayas, Assam is home to beautiful nature and is the biggest producer of quality tea in India - contributing circa 55% of the country’s total tea production. The Assam state is one of the richest biodiversity zones in the world. It consists of tropical rainforests, deciduous forests, riverine grasslands, bamboo orchards, numerous wetland ecosystems and - of course - the ten thousands of hectares of land covered end-to-end by stunning tea fields.
Assam has a tropical monsoon, rainforest climate and is classified as ‘temperate’ with summer highs reaching 38 °C or more. The region experiences heavy rainfall and high humidity - which, of course, has a great effect on the flavour of the tea plants grown in this area.
"Assam is home to numerous endangered and threatened species
that seek refuge in established wildlife sanctuaries across the state".
Assam is remarkably rich in Orchid species. The Foxtail orchid is the state flower of Assam. The Kaziranga National Orchid and Biodiversity Park boasts more than 500 of the estimated 1,314 orchid species found in India. This speaks to the fertility of the area.
Assam is home to numerous endangered and threatened species that seek refuge in established wildlife sanctuaries across the state. Assam has conserved the one-horned Indian rhinoceros from near extinction - along with numerous other species, such as the Bengal tiger and pygmy hog. Furthermore, the state provides one of the last remaining wildlife habitats for the Asian elephant.
Assam - one of the most famous tea districts in the world - produces mainly black tea from the Assamica variety of the Camellia Sinensis plant. The teas of this area are loved for their body, briskness, malty flavour, and strong, bright colour.
The discovery of the tea plant in Assam enabled the East India Company to establish tea trade. Hitherto, trading in tea had been monopolised by China. The Assam Company - which was founded in England in 1839 on the basis of scientific studies by Dr N. Wallich - is the oldest commercial tea company of Assam.
"The teas of this area are loved for their body, briskness, malty flavour, and strong, bright colour".
Historically, Assam has been the second largest commercial tea production region in the world - after southern China. Southern China and Assam are the only two regions in the world with native tea plants.
The first Indian to start the planting of tea, was an Assamese nobleman named Maniram Dutta Barma - also known as Maniram Dewan - who became part of the Assam Company. In 1841, he resigned from the Assam Company to start his own tea estate. After Maniram Dewan’s pioneering efforts, many Assamese farmers began growing tea.
After the end of the British colonial rule over India, major changes occurred in the Indian tea industry. Today, tens of thousands of hectares of land in Assam is covered in tea fields. The state produces millions upon millions of kilos of tea every year and remains one of the most revered tea districts in the world.
Our Assam Tea Selection
Our Assam Tea Selection consists of Assam Mangalam, Assam Manjushree Second Flush, Assam Thowra, Assam Breakfast Tea, Assam Daisajan Second Flush and Assam Meleng Second Flush.
Assam Mangalam - No.05
This Assam tea - produced in the Mangalam Tea Estate - is of premium quality. Our Assam Mangalam tea is a carefully processed tea with large leaves and lots of golden tips. Its delicious flavour is malty, rich and spicy and gives a dark amber infusion.
Assam 2nd Flush Manjushree - No.19
This delightful Assam tea hails from the acclaimed Manjushree tea estate, which is nestled in the lush green mountains of Assam. The extreme heat and humidity of this region gives rise to the beautifully bold and characterful taste of this small leaf tea.
With an exceptional abundance of golden tips, the leaf gives a gorgeously strong cup of tea and imparts the uniquely delicious, malty flavour of Assam. Offering a bold, bright liquor this is the perfect flavoursome breakfast tea, which is delightful enjoyed with milk or as it is.
Assam Thowra - No.06
This tea is grown in one of the most famous tea gardens in the Assam region. It is an outstanding second flush tea with a strong, spicy and malty taste and a beautiful scent. Its fine leaves boast lots of golden tips and gives a copper coloured infusion. The tea can be enjoyed with milk or cream and sugar and is ideal as a morning breakfast tea.
Assam Breakfast Tea - No. 36 - no longer available
This breakfast tea is perfect for those who prefer a full-bodied, strong cup during the cold winter mornings. The tea consists of smaller dark leaves that impart a beautiful amber liquor with a well-balanced flavour, which is delightful taken with milk.
Assam Daisajan Second Flush - No. 35 - no longer available
The tea hails from the Daisajan Tea Estate. The estate is located in the town, Doomdooma - also known as ‘Tea City’ - in upper Assam. The estate is equipped with a state of the art manufacturing unit and produces the finest quality orthodox teas.
Assam Meleng Second Flush - No. 34 - no longer available
This single origin long leaf black tea from the revered Meleng tea estate is located near the town of Jorhat, close to the world heritage site, the Gibbon Wild Life Sanctuary. Produced using orthodox methods, the tea is of prime quality and can be recommended for seasoned black tea lovers.