Life Beyond the Tea Bag

Diane Eddy

Historically, British Legacy Teas are teas from the 1800s, grown in the regions of Darjeeling and Assam, India, as well as teas from Ceylon. All of these originated from the colonial tea plantations of Great Britain. Most noted for their assertive, bold flavors that remind one of guava, malt and honey, British Legacy Teas were originally developed to take the mellowing effects of milk and sugar.

Tea consumption was fueled by the relative prosperity brought on by the Industrial Revolution, with factory workers growing dependent on the milk and sugar-laced tea for much of their daily nutrition. With the demand for tea increasing rapidly, paying China in gold and silver for tea became nearly impossible as the supplies of those precious metals had dwindled with the loss of the American colonies. The British turned to their settlements in India after finding that tea bushes were indigenous to the high mountain regions. By the 1850s, tea plantations were well established and thriving in Darjeeling and Assam. Within a short 20 years after that, the Scot Sir Thomas Lipton and others bought failed coffee plantations in Ceylon and converted them to tea growing.

These new growing areas produced tea in huge quantities, feeding the growing appetite for the beverage in England and America. Advances in the machinery to process the tea resulted in black tea that became synonymous with briskness and consistent character. The most notable of these teas are from the Darjeeling region bordering Nepal. Characterized by a charming depth of floral flavor reminiscent of muscatel grapes, Darjeeling teas were the first ones produced during the time of the British Raj.

The development of massive tea plantations in Assam quickly followed, and that region became known as “India’s Tea Basket”—a title it still holds. In the steamy tropical weather of the area, tea bushes generate heavy, large leaves—producing a hearty tea of exceptional sweetness.

Shortly after, the British brought the first tea plants to Ceylon, today known as Sri Lanka. Forward-thinking Scotsmen established the great tea plantations that transformed Ceylon into a major source of mellow, invigorating tea for the entire planet. All three of these famous tea growing regions continue to supply much of the world’s finest tea.

Come join us at our next Tea Tasting Class as Diane Eddy, Global Tea Mart’s Certified Tea Professional, leads us in exploring the tasty British Legacy teas. Share a fun morning on February 21, 2017, at 10:00a.m.-noon in the Sun Lakes Country Club’s Navajo Room. The cost of the class is $5 per person, and reservations are necessary. Students, please bring a teacup and saucer for yourself.

Please call Diane at 480-219-6211 or email her at: [email protected] for more information and to make your reservation.