Tea migrated to places taking its own culture with it on its rout and documentation of this is a big project in itself as the time span is big – it is said about 5000 years of history is clear – some documented and other not but well established by the findings of tea wares and other related artifacts.
India was found to be a luxurious surrogate home for tea and for some recent past grew world’s most volumenous quantities but lacked in culture because the local drinking habits migrated from milk to tea and moreover it was not cultivated for local consumption as a larger volume was earmarked for upcountry exports to European markets which needed it as a hot healthier drink then cold alcohol which made people drowsy and drunk.
Darjeeling is a bonus for all this humbug and a hughly fake duplicate crop sold in the world markets is a testamomy of its unique flavour and great taste. Same bush at different agroclimatically locations produce different teas which is so clearly evident in Sri Lanka and so in Darjeeling too.
It’s evaluation and marketing techniques vary from places to places but the voluminous trade thru auction is a story in itself and is well documented world wide except China where variations in manufacturing patterns does not allow it to be catalogued so easily and hence difficulty in adaption.
Tea wares were a fascinating adaption from different regions and their soils – from super expensive yixing purple clay to dirt cheap earthen pots which are discarded after every use but both gives their own distinct flavours which are almost similarly exquisite but differ in delicacy and aromas.
Formation of cultures is a great study material and is encompassed by the travel of tea from places to places at different times. From far off Japan to Russia materials and surroundings changed for ceremonies – be it super delicate Chinese tea ceremonies or great Indian masala Chai Street vendors – it was all the same story of a tea leaf and its plant which has set its own course in history.