Ooty Tea Plantation

There are many hill stations in India. These were built by the English as places to escape the oppressive heat of Indian summers. One of the hill stations we visited was Ooty which is home to many tea plantations.

Tea is grown on trees that are constantly trimmed to the height of shrubs so that pickers can gather the leaves. Only the leaves of new growth can be turned into tea and the smaller the leaf, the higher grade tea it is used to produce. The plantations are quite beautiful.

The individual plants look like something in a lawn. Ligustrum comes to mind.

We visited a plantation in Ooty. After paying a small fee to visit the plantation, we had an opportunity to taste free samples and buy tea and — for some reason — chocolate. The tea samples were truly wonderful but the reviews of the plantation we visited complained that the tea sold in the shop is a much lower quality than the tea in the tasting room. As a result, we didn’t buy any.

Aside from the fields, the tour also included walking past the factory where the raw tea leaves are converted to a finished product. The factory is very humid and looks dangerous but it was interesting to see how something that initially looks like lawn trimmings makes it into our tea bags. The tea is then sold at auction and marketed by companies like Tetley.

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