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Waking up in the morning is tough. But imagine the aroma of freshly brewed, strong tea that will cheer you up in early hours and energize you for the day.
Feeling tired after hard work? Have a hot cup of ‘chai’ or tea.
In India, tea or ‘chai’ is the most popular drink. Worldwide, tea ranks as the second most popular drink after water.
So, Here in this post, we'll find out which is the best Tea in India.
Tea Tradition in India
India has a long tradition of drinking tea. Ancient Indian texts including Atharva Veda, which includes Ayurveda form of wellness therapies and mythological stories, mention tea in different forms.
Broadly, tea has been described as a concoction made by boiling leaves with water.
These texts describe tea as a drink that helps calm frayed nerves, promotes relaxation and has curative properties.
Also Read: Top 10 FMCG Companies in India
Tea in Modern India
According to recorded history, tea, as we know it today, arrived in India during British conquest of Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
Following stiff resistance from China, tea along with opium and other crops were cultivated in parts of India. They were meant primarily for export to other British colonies.
Consequently, major tea brands evolved in India during the 18th and 19th century, some of which exist till date.
Tea grown in India primarily comes from the north-eastern state, Assam with some cultivation found in adjoining West Bengal and Tripura too.
Some varieties of tea are also grown in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
India is the world’s largest producer of black tea. India has a very refined tradition of drinking tea. Hence, the country is home to very popular Tea brands.
10 Most Popular Tea Brands in India:
1. Brooke Bond
By any standards, Brooke Bond is the most favourite and top tea brands in India. Brooke Bond Red Label has been a market leader for more than a century.
Brooke Bond Red Label tea is a household name and available in every nook and corner of this country.
You can also buy Red Label Naturals which consists of various herbs that are beneficial to the health.
The brand is owned by Hindustan Unilever Ltd.
2. Tata Tea
Tata ranks as the second most favoured brand of teas in India. Tata Agni is perhaps the second most popular brand of tea because of the highly economical price- you can by 500 grams of Tata Agni at just around Rs.100 while other brands cost almost double.
Tata Agni is made by Tata Global Beverages Ltd. Other Tata tea brands include Premium, Teaveda and Chakra Gold.
3. Taj Mahal
Also known a Brooke Bond Taj Mahal, this brand of tea is for connoisseurs.
It is a blend of finest tea from Darjeeling and upper Assam. Several popular Indian movie stars, sports personalities and eminent musicians have been brand ambassadors for Taj Mahal tea.
It is available as tea powder (dried, cured and crumbled tea leaves) and tea-bags.
Society is an extremely popular brand of tea launched by the Mumbai-based firm, Hasmukhrai & Co.
There are various variants of Society tea available in the market, depending upon your location.
The most popular is Society CTC strong tea, known for its flavour and colour. Several variants of teas and tea-based infusions are available as a powder and tea-bags from Society.
5. Wagh Bakri
Wagh Bakri tea is the most favoured brand among lovers of strong tea.
It is made by Gujarat Tea Packers & Processors Ltd. Wagh Bakri brand is commonly used by thousands of tea-stalls typical of India’s financial centre- Mumbai and other metros.
It is known for its strong aroma and taste. Wagh Bakri also offers a ‘masala’ tea variant that includes tea powder blended with spices.
Lipton Yellow Label was once the strongest contender for a topmost position in India’s tea market.
The brand exists in India for over a century and is a remnant of the flourishing tea trade of the British empire. Lipton Yellow Label is favoured by discerning tea drinkers.
It is one of the finest tea brands in India and sells at prices slightly higher than other popular brands.
Also a great brand from the days of the British empire, Twinings is a brand of speciality teas.
The range includes varieties like Darjeeling, English Breakfast and Earl Grey. Prices for Twining's tea powder and tea bags are very high.
The cheapest tea powder from Twinings costs over Rs.600 for a jar of 100 grams.
Tetley tea leaves and tea bags are available at larger shops and online stores in India. Tetley makes two types of tea- Original and Elaichi (cardamom flavoured).
Additionally, Tetley also sells tea-based herbal and fruit infusions in the Indian market.
Duncan’s tea also ranks among the oldest tea brands of India.
The company continues to make two types of tea marketed as Duncan’s Darjeeling and Duncan’s Double Diamond. Some decades ago, Duncan’s Double Diamond ranked among the topmost tea brands alongside Brooke Bond and Lipton.
10. PG Hasmukhrai & Co Tea
PG Hasmukhrai & Co of Mumbai sells various types of speciality teas in India.
It is a popular brand among tea lovers. The company has been in the tea business for nearly eight decades and sources its tea leaves from the best plantations in eastern India.
Tea Facts in India
Though India ranks as the topmost producer of black tea (red tea), it lags far behind many countries in domestic consumption.
According to India Tea Board, the average consumption of tea powder in this country is mere 730 grams per annum per person. In neighbouring countries, consumption is much higher, at over 1kg per person per year.
The reasons for sluggish tea consumption is said to be high prices that put the common drink out of reach for the poor.
Secondly, rampant advertising by tea manufacturers harping benefits of green tea has also caused a dent in black tea demand.
The health-conscious falsely believe that green tea has medicinal and restorative properties while tests in the US and elsewhere have proved inconclusive or contrary to these claims.
There is also a large unregulated market of tea in India. This consists of wholesalers buying surplus stocks from plantations and selling it in retail markets for hefty profits.
The ‘loose’ tea market caters generally to economically weaker sections of the society, who can buy only 50 grams whenever required.
Regardless of where you are drinking tea- home, office, restaurant or a street-side tea stall, it is worth the effort to check the brand.
Superior tea leaves contain the right does of Tannin, which makes tea refreshing and lends the distinct aroma.
However, for that refreshing hot cup of tea, you may consider buying tea powder or tea bags from the top brands we have listed.