As you drive along sprawling tea gardens, here are some interesting snippets you can share with your children…

women pluckers only
Stop by as your drive and ask the tea pluckers to show you how they pluck the leaf. Take some time to chat with them. You might discover much that you didn’t know.


  • The Hindi Chai comes from the Chinese (Cantonese) word ch’a because Tea originated in China.
  • Globally, Tea is the second most common drink after Water!
  • There are six varieties of Tea – black, oolong, green, yellow, white and pu-erh. All come from the same bush.
Tea - green chinese
The Hindi word Chai comes from the Chinese word Ch’a
  • India is the world’s second largest producer of tea (China is the largest).
  • India’s obsession with tea, a colonial hangover, was frowned upon by many initially. Gandhi once wrote that tea drinking was unhealthy as it contained tannin.
  • Two hundred years ago, Indian people were not drinking tea. Tea was not known about except in the remote areas of the north-east. (To read more about how Tea came to India and became a nationally popular beverage, click here)
  • Tea is one of the most labour-intensive crops to cultivate as plucking of tea leaves cannot be done, except by hand.
  • Plucking is always done by women and there is a specific way to pluck the leaf – two leaves and a terminal bud with a clean pluck.
Tea gardens
Tea is always grown on hill slopes. And plucking is always done by women.
  • Tea is always grown on hill slopes.
  • Darjeeling is India’s most expensive variety of tea. It sells for over Rs. 500 per kg. Almost all of it is exported out of India.
  • Most of the tea that makes it to the Indian market from the gardens is called CTC – which stands for Cut Tear Curl.
  • Today, India is the world’s largest consumer of tea.
Related image
Prepared with sugar and milk, Indian Chai is CTC (Cut Tear Curl). The elite among teas however is Darjeeling, which is light and fruity and had without milk. Almost all of Darjeeling tea is exported out of India.

A Little Something for the Parent

Tea has a rich and fascinating History. From being clandestinely smuggled out of China to wars waged to pay for its imports, the story of Tea is quite an incredible one.

As a tea-drinker and a history-buff, the story had me hooked. Should you wish to read more, here are two books I would recommend

Darjeeling by Jeff Koehler tells the dramatic story of tea in a very engaging manner.
For all the tea in China.jpg
For all the Tea in China by Sarah Rose tells the story of how Tea was smuggled out of China


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