• Leaves of the tropical shrub Comellia, which is native to hill slopes of monsoon Asia.
  • Originated in Yangtze, Chang Jiang valley of China as early as 6 century AD and consumed there and in Japan since then.
  • Introduced in Britain and rest of Europe in 17th Century. Massive plantation cultivation in former colonies (India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) has made this beverage extremely cheap and in reach of common man. (Initially a luxury).
  • Tea faces competition from soft drinks and Coffee.


  • Hardiest tropical shrub 
  • Two species 
    • Assam (Black tea, consumed with milk and sugar, popular in US and Europe): Typical of India and Sri Lanka, Taller with large leaves. Best suited for large scale commercial cultivation. 
    • Chinese (Green Tea, widely consumed in Far East): Short and smaller leaves. 
  • Cross between two, combining good features are also available.
  • It contains tiny oil cells which gives it peculiar flavor.
  • Tannic acid or thein is also found in leaves.


Climatic conditions

  • More than 21 C during growing seasons for more than 8 months 
  • Warm summer and frequent rain reproduction increase the number of annual pickings.
  • Cannot tolerate frost but below freezing temperatures. 
  • Severe Cold spells hinder the rapid growth, Reduce yield and damage plants


  • Tea plant cannot tolerate standing water and water logged low lands
  • It is best grown on well drained hill slopes or high lands. 
  • Almost all black Tea comes from Highland districts.


  • Reasonably deep and friable to facilitate root penetration. 
  • Most suitable soils: Slightly Acidic and without Calcium, Presence of Iron desirable. 
  • Volcanic ash: well porous, aerated and drained: Excellent.
  • Intake of Nitrogen is very high and hence regular manuring essential.


  • Grow better wen shielded from strong sunlight and violent winds. Therefore, trees are planted.


  • Tea cultivation and picking and processing are labour intensive.
  • Female labour preferred for tea picking because of a tedious job requiring skill and patience.
  • Picking entirely done by hands and workers paid by piece rate i.e., amount of tea picked during the day.


  • Best in monsoon lands of Tropics and subtropics.
  • Land preferably on hill slopes is first cleared.
  • Plants of around feet are transplanted.
  • Weeding and manuring very important.
  • Restocking after around 50 years is necessary.


  • India > Sri Lanka > China > Japan > Indonesia > Bangladesh > Malaysia 
  • Kerala: Nilgiris Hills, High quality 
  • Assam and Khasi hills: 3500 Ft, Greatest yield because of huge estates
  • Darjeeling: 4500 Ft, Best quality Tea
  • Distribution across India:
image 249
Online Counselling
Table of Contents
Today's Current Affairs
This is default text for notification bar