Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tea in UK

Tea import began into Britain in year 1660s with the union of Royals. British King Charles II married Catherine of Braganza from Portugal a confirmed tea drinker. She made the brew popular in the court.

Initially the trade was controlled by two companies Chinese Hongs and East India Company. At the start tea was mainly consumed by the upper class but as time went it became popular among the masses especially Darjeeling tea in UK which is very popular in English tea rooms. Both Assam and Niligiri tea leaf are popular in UK. Green leaf is becoming popular for its health benefits.

Tea is consumed a many times a day in UK and high tea is usually an evening meal. The brew is made with milk with addition of sugar cubes.


Nilgiri tea from Tamil Nadu in Southern India is highly aromatic and flavor filled black leaf. The liquor is dark and rich in fragrance. It is grown in hilly portions of the Western Ghats mountain ranges down South. The tea estates that are famous for producing Nilgiri leaves in the district of Niligiri hence the name. Other tea cultivating districts are Munnar and Central Travancore in the Indian state of Kerala.

Popular Nilgiri variety comes in various shapes and size. The price range differs as per the grade and cultivation method used. Orange Pekoe is expensive hand graded version of full leaf teas. The major production of this black leaf is in CTC type. Some masala chai manufacturers also use this leaf in their spiced tea blends.

Niligiri competes with popular Darjeeling leaf and Assam leaf. But due to a distinct characteristic of its own and unique taste it has a vast following among tea lovers in India and abroad.