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Assam Tea Info

Black Tea from Assam
  1. Tea is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over curved leaves of the tea plant (Scientific name : Camellia sinensis, an evergreen shrub (bush). Tea is the most widely consumed after water in the world. Tea has a stimulating effect in humans primarily due to its caffeine content.
  2. The three main varieties of the tea plant are from China, Assam, and Cambodia. Each variety tea plant has distinct characteristics. There are an infinite number of hybrids between the varieties; such crosses can be seen in almost any tea field. Scientific name of Chinese variety is Camellia sinensis sinensis, Assamese is Camellia sinensis assamica and Cambodian variety is Camellia Sinensis var. Cambodian. The tea plants grown in the Darjeeling region of India are the Chinese variety because of the high elevation and cooler temperatures. 
  3. The China variety, a multi stemmed bush growing as high as 9 feet (2.75 metres), is a hardy plant able to withstand cold winters and has an economic life of at least 100 years.
  4. The Assam variety, a single-stem plant ranging from 20 to 60 feet (6 to 18 metres) in height and including several subvarieties, has an economic life of 40 years with regular pruning and plucking. The tea planter recognizes five main subvarieties: the tender light-leaved Assam, the less tender dark-leaved Assam, the hardy Manipuri and Burma types, and the very large-leaved Lushai. In Upper Assam the dark-leaved Assam plant, when its leaves are highly pubescent, produces very fine quality “golden tip” teas during its second flush.(“Golden tips” : A desirable feature in whole leaf teas resulting when the buds of the tea leaf turn golden during processing.)
  5. The Cambodia variety, a single-stem tree growing to about 16 feet (5 metres) in height, is not cultivated but has been naturally crossed with other varieties.
  6. Assam tea is black tea. It means that all types of tea from the six major categories (Black, dark, oolong, yellow, green, & white) are made from the Camellia sinensis plant. The way the leaf is manipulated and processed determines the type of finished tea it becomes. There are literally thousands of est that can be made from one little plant. Black tea is the most commonly consumed tea in the world accounting for approximately 68% of all consumption. In the United States, well over 80% of the tea consumed is black.
  7. Black teas are more heavily oxidized than other types of tea, like green tea or white tea. Oxidation is a chemical process that creates darker leaves and a more intense flavor. Assam tea is known for its full-bodied malty flavor, deep aroma, rich color, and brisk taste.
  8. There are four main grades for black tea: Orange Pekoe (OP), Broken Orange Pekoe BOP), Fanning (F), and Dust (D).
  9. CTC (Crush, tear, curl or cut, tear, curl) tea actually refers to a method of processing black tea. Black tea leaves are run through a series of cylindrical rollers. The rollers have hundreds of sharp teeth that crush, tear, and curl the leaves. The rollers produce small, hard pellets made of tea. This CTC method is different from standard tea manufacturing, in which the tea leaves are simply rolled into strips. Tea made via this method is called CTC tea (or mamri tea).  
  10. The CTC process was invented in the 1930s by Sir William McKercher in Assam, India. The process spread in the 1950s throughout India and Africa. Today, most black tea produced around the world uses the CTC method.
  11. The tea plant came to notice in Assam in the year 1823 when a gentleman of Scottish nationality, Robert Bruce had visited Assam and he found the tea plant growing in wild. Bruce visited the local tribe ‘Singpho’ accompanied by Assamese nobleman, Maniram Dewan. Singpho King Bessa Gam offered some samples of leaves and seeds of local tea plants to Bruce. Bruce planned to send for proper scientific verification of the tea variety by botanists. In the course of time the tea enthusiastic Bruce expired. But later on, in the year  Robert’s brother Charles Alexander Bruce sent a few leaves from the Assam tea bush to the botanical gardens in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) for proper examination. There, the plant was finally identified as a variety of tea or Camellia sinensis var assamica, but different from the Chinese version (Camellia sinensis var. sinensis).
  12. The first tea company in the world, Assam Company was formed in England in the year 1839 for cultivation and production of Assam tea in the district of upper Assam. The Headquarter of the company was set up at Nazira, Assam. The first two decades (1840–1860) were monopolized by the Assam Company in tea production sector in Assam. The tea garden labours were engaged from local Kachari and Kaibarta community. The second company was formed in 1859 as the Jorhat Tea Company and even today its central office is at Jorhat.
  13. In 1837, the first English tea garden was established at Chabua in Upper Assam; in 1840, the Assam Tea Company began the commercial production of tea in the region. Beginning in the 1850s, the tea industry rapidly expanded, consuming vast tracts of land for tea plantations. By the turn of the century, Assam became the leading tea-producing region in the world.
  14. In 1904, a laboratory was started at Hilikha Tea Estate near Mariani in the district of Jorhat, Assam. In 1912, the laboratory was shifted to Tocklai (Jorhat District) and was renamed as Tocklai Experimental Station. In 1964, the experimental station became Tea Research Association (TRA). The Tocklai Experimental Station has been helping the tea estates to increase their yields by improved techniques and cultivation and by control of diseases and pests affecting the plants.
  15. An Assamese nobleman Maniram Dutta Baruah, popularly known as Maniram Dewan was the first Indian commercial tea planter. Dewan established the Cinnamara TE at Jorhat and Senglung TE near Suffry, Sonari, Assam in India. Maniram Dewan established Cinnamora tea estate, first Tea Garden of Assam by in 1850.
  16. The Tea Garden Labourers in Assam: Assam’s tea industry is dependent on about two million labourers almost all of whom are the descendents of those who were brought to Assam as slaves first by the East India Company and later by the British rulers and entrepreneurs from 1830‘s through 1920‘s, mostly from the Santhal Parganas district of Bihar (now in Jharkhand state). The descendents of these slaves are now called tea tribes (Chatterjee and Das Gupta, 1981; Verghese, 1996). The tea tribes form the backbone of the Assamese tea industry. The tea-tribes are found mainly in the districts of Darrang, Sonitpur, Nagaon, Jorhat, Golaghat, Dibrugarh, Cachar, Hailakandi, Karimganj, Tinsukia and almost all the districts of Assam (Wikipedia). It may be mentioned here that Santhali speaker tea tribes are also found in parts of Kokrajhar and Bongaigaon districts. People from the Singpho, Boro, Moran and Kachari tribes are also involved in growing, and harvesting of tea. According to Behal (2006) the tea industry, from the 1840‘s onwards the earliest commercial enterprise established by private British capital in the Assam Valley, had been the major employer of wage labour there during colonial rule.
  17. Assam’s First Organic Tea Farmer Tenzing Bodosa’s two farms in Bodoland territorial area of Kachibari village in the Udalguri district of Assam, India. Tenzing started growing organic tea in 2007. Tenzing’s farm also has an interesting distinction. It was certified as being the “world’s first and only elephant-friendly tea farm”, by the World Wildlife Foundation in 2015.
  18. INDIAN TEA ASSOCIATION is a Society registered under the West Bengal Societies Registration Act. Founded in 1881, the Indian Tea Association (ITA) is the premier and oldest Association of tea producers in India. The Association was founded to protect the interests of tea planters in British India and to promote the consumption of Indian tea. ITA membership constitutes of 226 no. of companies. ITA is Headquartered in Kolkata with a network of Branch and Zone offices in Binnaguri (Dooars), Bengdubi (Terai), Darjeeling, Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Tezpur and Silchar (Assam).
  19. The Assam Branch Indian Tea Association (ABITA) was formed in 1889 after the Assam Valley tea planters decided to work in close cooperation with the Indian Tea Association. The office of the Assam Branch Indian Tea Association was first located at Kokilamukh. From 1977 the head office is located at Guwahati. The ABITA represents the collective interests of its members and advises on legal matters to the tea estates. It has the reputation and distinction of being fair and just in resolving labour issues which members face and has high credibility in guiding and implementing decisions on matters pertaining to the industry.
  20. There are 803 registered tea gardens in Assam, 555 are in the upper Assam region. Dibrugarh has 177 tea gardens, followed by Tinsukia (122), Jorhat(88), Sivasagar(85) and Golaghat (74).
  21. In 2019, Assam produced a whopping 715.79 million kg of tea—which is 51.5% of the all-India tea production that year. In 2018, Assam had produced 691.91 million kg of tea.
  22. The Opening of Tea Auction Centre at Guwahati on 25th Sept.1970,
  23. The tea of Assam first auctioned in London on 10th January 1839.
  24. Guwahati Tea Auction Centre (GTAC) is situated at Guwahati town in the district of Kamrup Metro of Assam State, India. GTAC is well known for being one of the busiest auction centers for tea. The center was established on the 25th of September, 1970 and it has seen the largest volume of CTC tea auction in the world. The auction space is quite big in size and sprawled around 20,000 square feet. There are two auction halls in the center, for tea leaves and tea dust auction.
  25. What is a small tea garden? A tea garden with a tea plantation of 10 hectares (75 bighas) or less is classified as a small tea garden by the government.
  26. What is organic tea? Certified organic tea is free of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. Organic tea agriculture sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic tea agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.

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