Tea in India

  • Philip A. Lutgendorf
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-3934-5_10051-1
The story of how tea cultivation was brought to the South Asian subcontinent and gradually established there as a major industry (said to be contemporary India’s second largest employer, after the railways) is notably marked by experimentation, innovation, and scientific and technological advances that were subsequently adopted by tea producers in other parts of the world. The initial impetus for this came from afar in the immense thirst for tea that developed among the population of the British Isles beginning in the late seventeenth century. Brewed with leaves imported from China, the beverage was at first a luxurious and medicinal privilege of aristocrats, but during the next century, as its import gradually increased and its price declined, it spread to the middle and eventually the working classes. By the end of the eighteenth century, tea, usually served with milk and heavily sweetened with sugar produced by slave labor in the Americas, had become a staple of British life.


Auction House Continuous Manufacture Trough Line Chinese Practice Indian Consumer 
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Images from the Urban History Documentation Archive at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC), are used with the permission of that institution. Special thanks are due to Dr. Gautam Bhadra and archivist Abhijit Bhattacharya, both of the CSSSC, as well as to Monojit Das Gupta, Secretary of the Indian Tea Association, and Anik Palchoudhuri, Vice-Chairman and Director, Mohurgong & Gulma Tea Estates.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and LiteraturesUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA