Tea-riffic Kangra leaves, grab European GI tag!

The European Commission (EC) has granted geographical indication (GI) for India’s Kangra tea, which is grown in Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra district. The tag will help Kangra tea to get an opportunity to enter the European market.

Known for its special flavour, the production of the famous Kangra Tea had once dwindled because of a lack of labour and the high cost of production. It then received the Indian Gl tag in 2005. Since then, the cultivation and development of tea have improved constantly in the Kangra region of Himachal Pradesh.

India-EU Relations

“Today we registered a new Geographical Indication from India! Kangra tea is grown 900-1,400 meters above sea level, on the slopes of the Dhauladhar mountain range in the Western Himalayas. It has a nutty, woody aroma and a sweet aftertaste,” tweeted EU Agriculture.

India-EU relations date to the early 1960s, with India being amongst the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the European Economic Community. They both lay strong emphasis on GI, attaching high importance to local food, maintaining local traditions and preserving and promoting rich cultural heritage.

Purity coming straight from the Himalayas!

The Himalayas have been the origin of purity and also the farmer of one of the most scrumptious tea leaves. Kangra, in Dharamsala, remains underrated for its exquisite varieties of black and green teas. Only recently, the tea estates of Kangra have caught the global spotlight.

Known for its quality, unique aroma and tinge of fruity flavour, it is a little milder than Darjeeling tea in terms of flavour. The Kangra area, as defined in this application, enjoys the very specific geographical conditions prevailing in the snow-clad Dhauladhar mountain ranges in the Himalayas. Altitude is one very specific feature of the area as all the tea plantations are set within the altitude range of 900 to 1400 m in the mountain ranges.

‘Kangra tea’ is produced using high-efficiency whole leaf-orthodox manufacture which means that ‘Kangra tea’ is made up of whole leaf and flavour-enriched leaves with the highest content of polyphenols (catechins).

Kangra leaves are known to have Calcium, Zinc, Folic Acids, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2 and Vitamin B6. Its antioxidants help prevent brain, heart and bone disorders along with nursing in lowering cholesterol & preventing several cancers. It nourishes the skin from within and wards off viral & bacterial infections helping build immunity.

Tea tourism

Tea tourism is gaining ground in Kangra. Several tea estates and factories in Palampur and Dharamsala offer factory tours as well as homestays for those inquisitive discovering about tea.

The development and cultivation of Kangra tea are being promoted and looked after by four departments:

-Tea Board of India Regional office Palampur

-Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Agriculture University, Palampur

-CSIR, IHBT Palampur

-Cooperative and agriculture departments of the state

The history of Kangra tea dates back to 1849 when Dr Jameson, then superintendent of the Botanical Tea Gardens, pronounced the region ideal for tea cultivation. Being one of India’s smallest tea regions makes Kangra green and black tea all the more exclusive. While the black tea has a sweet lingering aftertaste, the green tea has a delicate woody aroma. The demand for Kangra tea has been increasing steadily and much of it is bought by natives and exported to Kabul and Central Asia via Peshawar.

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