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Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. India is the second largest producer of tea in the world after China, including the famous Assam tea and Darjeeling tea. Tea is also the ‘State Drink’ of Assam.
According to the ASSOCHAM report released in December, 2011, India, as the world’s largest consumer of tea uses nearly 30 percent of the global output. Despite the consumption, India is also the largest exporter of tea after China. The practice of Ayurveda has resulted in a long-standing tradition of herbal teas. Tea is also mixed with these traditional herbs.
For the next thousand years, documentation of tea in India was lost in history. Records re-emerge during the first century CE, with stories of the Buddhist monks Bodhidharma and Gan Lu, and their involvement with tea. Research shows that tea is indigenous to eastern and northern India, and was cultivated and consumed there for thousands of years. Commercial production of tea in India did not begin until the arrival of the British East India Company, at which point large tracts of land were converted for mass tea production.
A number of renowned teas, such as Assam and Darjeeling, also grow exclusively in India. The Indian tea industry has grown to own many global tea brands, and has evolved to one of the most technologically equipped tea industries in the world. Tea production, certification, exportation, and all other facets of the tea trade in India is controlled by the Tea Board of India. Tea cultivation in India has somewhat ambiguous origins.
Though the extent of the popularity of tea in Ancient India is unknown, it is known that the tea plant was a wild plant in India that was indeed brewed by local inhabitants of different regions. But there is no substantial documentation of the history of tea drinking in the Indian subcontinent for the pre-colonial period. One can only speculate that tea leaves were widely used in Ancient India since the plant is native to some parts of India.
The Singpho tribe and the Khamti tribe, inhabitants of the regions where the Camellia sinensis plant grew native, have been consuming tea since the 12th century. It is also possible that tea may have been used under another name. The tea plant is native to East and South Asia but the origins and history of tea are not precise.