#InternationalTeaDay: Celebrating the 'Ek Cup Chai' we can't do without
Did you know that not every tea is chai? Chai, which is the de-facto tea and the most popular go-to beverage for most Indians, is just one of the innumerable tea varieties. As several Asian and African tea-producing nations mark the 12th International Tea Day today, know more about this blend of goodness that's so loved across the world.
Britons started tea cultivation in India
India is presently the world's largest consumer and the second largest producer of tea, after China. But the beverage wasn't always so popular among Indians. Though some historians trace the prevalence of tea drinking in India as far back as 750 BC, it was rediscovered by the British only in the early 1800s when they began cultivating it locally to meet their enormous demands.
This is how Assam and Darjeeling tea first began production
The now famed Assam and Darjeeling tea varieties were both first commercially cultivated by Britons. The first company for Assam tea was formed in 1839, after the Chinese variety was abandoned for yielding poor results on Indian soil. Cultivation in Darjeeling began in the 1850s. By 1874, the hill station had 113 plantations across 18,888 acres and accounting for a production worth £3.9 million.
Despite high local demand, India is second largest tea exporter
India reportedly produced 1233.14 million kgs of tea in 2015-16. Despite 75-80% of its tea being consumed by its people, India exported 232.92 million kgs in the same year. Assam is India's largest tea producing state, contributing 52% to the country's total production, which was 652.95 million kgs in 2015-16. West Bengal and Tamil Nadu are the next largest tea producing states.
Slurping tea actually does enhance the experience
Ever wondered why many people slurp while drinking their tea? Because it does taste better. Seriously! Slurping aerates the tea and allows greater contact with taste buds, enhances its taste. Herbal tea is not exactly tea. Unlike all other tea varieties that are made from the leaves of plant Camellia Sinensis, it is an infusion of roots, stems, flowers and leaves of several plants.
Tea tasting is among the world's most well-paid jobs
Apart from its medicinal properties and satisfying aroma, tea has several other relatively-unknown qualities. For instance, dampened tea leaves make for a fantastic mosquito repellent, and moist tea bags help reduce puffy eyes. Also, tea tasting is among the most well-paid jobs in the world. Fresh recruits start at approximately Rs. 21.4 lakh a year. You don't like yours so much anymore, do you?