There are great differences from one type of Indian tea to another. This is due to the climate and local conditions which can vary greatly from one region to another: from mountainous regions to plateaus or plains. Also, the plantations are not all made up of the same type of tea plant:
camelia assamica in Assam, camelia sinensis in the south of India, both varieties in Darjeeling, hybridising etc.
▪ High altitude teas, with plantations situated between 400 - 2,500m above sea level, at foothills of the Himalayas, on the outskirts of the town Darjeeling, famed for the coolness and purity of its climate.
▪ The quality of the teas and the success encouraged the rapid start up of other plantations: Dooteriah in 1859, Ging, Ambootiah, Tukdah, Phoobsering between 1860 and 1864, Badamtam, Makaibari a little later.
▪ The growth of Darjeeling is extremely fast and there are still 90 plantations today.
▪ 61 of these have been classified into 3 categories, according to their altitude.
▪ The categories may have had some meaning in terms of prestige and fame, but now, it depends as much on the skill of the planter as it does on the plantation's altitude.
▪ Assam is a low-lying region, fertile region that produces more than half of India's tea.
▪ The rainfall is same as in Darjeeling but the rain is much heavier.
▪ Two harvests are possible: the first flush however takes place very rarely; the bulk of the output comes between April and October.
▪ Assam teas are vigorous, spicy, tannic and astringent, also known as "British taste".
▪ The infusion is generous and very dark; the liqueur is dark and powerful, and can sometimes be drunk with milk.
▪ These teas are found in all the full bodied morning blends. If not blended, they must be sold under their label of origin.
▪ Nilgiri, which is situated in the south of India, is the 2nd biggest tea-producing region after Assam.
▪ This region of plateaux of the same height as those in Sri Lanka, produces teas whose regular leaf and round with full - bodied liqueur
▪ A tea grown on plantations in Darjeeling, at an altitude of about 300m to 600m above sea level.
▪ The infusion has a good colour and the liqueur is strong and consistent in flavour.
▪ The valley of Kangra is situated to the south of Kashmir
▪ It produces strong, aromatic teas
▪ This region is situated to the west of Assam, whose teas are especially aromatic and highly coloured.
▪ They are not without a hint of certain summer Darjeeling, which marry with the roundness and strength of Assam.