Beijing: High-end Indian teas made a colourful debut in the Chinese market as top local producers and distributors were treated with the vibrant varieties of the beverage.
A special tea tasting ceremony organised by the Indian Embassy at its cultural centre here yesterday. Who is who of China's tea industry were present there to get a taste of Indian teas and the rich history that goes with them. The get-together was accompanied by Indian music and classical Kathak performances by Chinese and Indian artists.
"The get-together was the first attempt by India to show China that tea is part of Indian cultural milieu and India produce wide variety of exclusive teas," Arun Sahu, the Indian diplomat who heads the cultural centre, said about the initiative.
Indian tea, specially the famous verities like Darjeeling, Assam and Niligiris, was famous all over the world but in China, which is known for its own verities of teas, specially the green teas, there is little awareness about Indian tea, he said.
A number of guest attending the ceremony appeared surprised to know that India was one of the world's biggest producers of tea (980 million in 2009) as well as consumer and exporter.
China prides being the largest producer of teas mostly green verities which are consumed without milk.
According to Chinese historians, tea originated in China and the Chinese tea generally represents tea leaves which have been processed using methods inherited from ancient times.
According to popular legend, tea was accidentally discovered by Chinese Emperor Shennong in 2737 BCE when a leaf from a Camellia Sinensis tree fell into the water which he was boiling.
The beverage is considered one of the seven necessities of Chinese life, along with firewood, rice, oil, salt, soy sauce and vinegar.
China is the world's leading producer of tea.
According to estimates China's tea market (off trade) is estimated to be worth USD three billion in 2010.