The growing domestic demand for black tea in China is what Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited, the second largest producer of the beverage in India with 21 garden in Assam alone, is planning to cash in on.
“We have sent a small consignment of black tea last month to a Chinese government company. This is a just a start-up consignment and if the feedback is good, there might be bigger orders,” the company’s managing director, Deepak Atal, told The Telegraph today. “Their norms for accepting tea from outside are very tough and we are looking into it.”
Atal, who recently visited China to attend a tea festival and international tea convention, said there was a separate session on black tea at the convention, indicating the importance accorded to black tea in that country.
“The younger generation in China is showing a great liking for black tea and this is what is motivating us to look towards that country,” he said, adding that the consignment they sent to China comprised CTC and orthodox varieties produced in the company’s Assam gardens.
The company, which has 21 gardens in Assam and four in Bengal, produced 32.34 million kg of tea in 2012, of which the state contributed 28.51 million kg.
He said a delegation from China had visited tea gardens of different companies, including Amalgamated, in India earlier this year.
According to 2012 figures released by International Tea Committee, China tea production is 1,761 million kg, which is 38.9 per cent of the world produce. Similarly, China exported 321.79 million kg, 18.64 per cent of the world export level.
Having surpassed India as the leading tea producer in 2006, the neighbouring country has been producing more than 500 million kg of green tea since 2001, which increased to 1,046 million kg in 2010.
Sources say China grows tea in more than 10,000 holdings and boasts production of the largest variety of teas in the world. Some of the notable types of Chinese teas include green, white, oolong, black and smoked black (a type of green tea), among others.
The production in China grew at 2.38 per cent during the nineties of the last century and registered 8 per cent growth between 2001 and 2010.