Okayti Tea Estate - One of the Best Single Estate Tea Manufacturers in India
Do you know that in the financial year 2020-21, India's total tea production was 1,283 million kilograms? That easily translates to billions of cups. Globally, India is the second largest tea producer after China and it is also one of the top tea consumers in the world. In the year 2021, the total value of tea exports from India was around US$ 687.9 million. India is among the top 5 tea exporters and tea roughly makes about 10% of total exports. India exports its teas to almost 25 countries, Iran, the UK, and Germany being the top importers of Indian teas.
Teas from Darjeeling, Assam and Nilgiri are considered the finest Indian teas that are adored and appreciated globally for their quintessential characteristics true only to the teas produced in the region. Tea manufacturing in India was essentially a colonial project but today it is the second largest employer in the country with significant input to the economy. Like any other industry of the colonial era, tea plantation was made to make profits for the empire but like every action has consequences unthought-of, Indian tea unfolded like a magic charm giving thousands of people livelihood and hope for a better future.
The year 1839 saw the initiation of the Opium War and the tea ‘addict' British was already looking for more profitable tea ventures. Few experiments of growing Chinese tea variety on the Indian land had already happened. British discovered the native tea plant in the Assam region and the Chinese variety failed to flourish in the sweltering Assam heat. The plantation of the native variety of tea plant was a success and the first twelve chests of Assam tea were shipped to London in 1838. Bengal Tea Association and Assam Company were formed. The successful manufacturing of Assam tea gave way to further experiments and after the transfer of present-day Darjeeling to East India Company, initial trials to grow the Chinese variety in the Himalayan foothills was made. It was a success and the commercial tea plantation started mushrooming.
Okayti Tea Estate, erstwhile known as Rangdoo was started in the late 1870s. It soon became one of the prominent tea manufacturers in India. With considerable accolades from the royal tea connoisseurs of London, it was dubbed as the only ‘Okay Tea', but teas from Okayti were far from just okay. In fact, the excellent fragrance and flavours proved so out of the world that the teas made their way to the most elegant tearoom in the world, the tearoom of none other than Buckingham Palace. To commemorate the appreciation, Rangdoo was rechristened Okayti Tea Estate, where perfect teas were manufactured.
Today, there are several tea manufacturers in India but Okayti still stands as the proud producer of orthodox Darjeeling teas with its teas being exhibited in the world's top tea shops.
There is such a charm in a cup of garden-fresh single estate teas, the freshness really steeps into the bright liquor and then to our mind and soul. Harvested, processed, and packaged in the estate itself, the teas tell the tale of lusciousness, luxury, and excellence.
The export figures are taken from India Brand Equity Foundation's website, click here to read the entire article.