Tea is an important beverage in India. Climatic Conditions for Tea Cultivation, Soil needed, Methods of Cultivation and Distribution are discussed below
Climatic Conditions for Tea Cultivation
- The ideal maximum temperature for the growth of the tea plant is about 24–30°C. The tea plant grows well under shade.
- High humidity, heavy dew, and morning fog are good for the development of young leaves.
- The tea plant grows well in humid climates. It needs adequate annual rainfall of about 150 cm distributed throughout the year.
Soil Needed for Tea Cultivation
- It grows well in regions of well-drained loamy soil or forest soil rich in humus.
- The soil should be gently rolled to prevent waterlogging.
Methods of Tea Cultivation
- One way of planting tea is that first high-quality seeds are sown in nurseries. The saplings are then transplanted within a year in a tea garden.
- Tea shrubs can also be grown in nurseries from the cutting of high-yielding varieties. This is known as the clonal planting method of propagating tea.
- Tea gardens are located on hillslopes as slopes prevent the soil from waterlogging. Standing water or waterlogging can seriously damage the crop.
- Bushes of the plant are pruned. In India, tea leaves are picked frequently.
- Tea picking is a skillful job and is mostly done by women.
There are four types of tea and each is processed differently.
Processing of Different Types of Tea
- Withering: Tea leaves are dried under the Sun to extract moisture.
- Rolling: Leaves are then rolled mechanically between steel rollers to break the fibres.
- Fermentation: The leaves are fermented, reducing the amount of tannic acid in tea by half.
- Drying: Leaves are then dried over a fire or in an oven until they are black.
- Blending: Blenders then give blend grades of tea to give it a special aroma.
- The picked leaves are heated immediately by roasting them.
- There is no fermentation process and leaves remain green even when they are dried, graded and packed.
- This tea is prepared by partially drying and fermenting the leaves.
- Much of this tea is exported to the United States.
- Inferior and coarser leaves and stems are compressed into rectangular blocks of brick tea.
- This tea is mostly consumed in Tibet and Russia.
India is the fourth largest exporter of tea. Assam is the leading producer of tea in India, followed by West Bengal. Tea is also produced on a large scale in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Other minor tea-producing regions are Ratnagiri and Satara in Maharashtra, Purnea in Bihar, Kangra Valley in Himachal Pradesh, and Coorg and Shimoga in Karnataka.
Also, Read Sugarcane Cultivation in India