India is, after China, the largest tea producer in the world. It also grows some of the most sought after teas. There are tea-growing regions all over the country: over 14000 tea estates and approximately 4% of India's GDP comes from its tea.
The variation of climates in India results in a lot of different teas. Although India produces all sorts of tea they are mostly famous for their black teas.
It’s hard to point out “legendary” Indian tea, instead they have top tea regions. Here are some of the most well known tea regions in India.
The Assam region is in the north-east of India. The tea plant is grown in the lowlands of Assam, unlike Darjeeling and Nilgiri, which are grown in the highlands. The Assam tea bush grows in a lowland region, in the valley of the Brahmaputra River. Assam tea is generally harvested twice, in a “first flush” and a “second flush.” The first flush is picked late March and the second flush from May to June. Assam tea is strong-flavoured and full-bodied. It is often used as English breakfast tea, often drunk with milk.
The Darjeeling region is cool and wet. It’s located in the foothills of the Himalayas. The tea is exquisite and delicately flavoured, and considered to be one of the finest teas in the world. The Darjeeling plantations have 3 distinct harvests, and the tea produced from each 'flush' has a unique flavour. First flush teas are light and aromatic, while the second flush produces tea with a bit more body. The third, or autumn flush gives a tea that if often considered a washed down version of the second flush.
This tea comes from an even higher part of India than Darjeeling. Nilgiri tea is grown in the southern portion of the Western Ghats mountains of Southern India. This southern Indian region has elevations between 1,000 and 2,500 meters. The flavour of Nilgiri tea is generally described as dark, intensely aromatic, and fragrant.