The continent of India represents some of the major areas of tea production, from the northerly Assam, Sikkim, Darjeeling, Cachar, and Dooars, sweeping down to the southerly Nilgiris and surrounding smaller regional producers. The diversity represented here is tantamount to some of the world's greatest.
Among the world's most prolific tea growing regions is Assam, India. Monsoonal rains, rich soils, unique terrain and tropical climate define the terroir of the region. A special varietal of the tea bush was natively found in the Assam region during British occupation, though it may have been known to the locals of the region even earlier. This plant was given the Latin name Camellia sinenses var. Assamica.
The Assamica varietal is grown extensively in the region, found naturally occurring in the wild as well as in plantations of many sizes. The dark glossy leaves with slightly serrated edges are revered for producing robust, malty and full-bodied black teas with a moderate amount of astringency. This tough varietal is well adapted to the steamy local conditions, though is generally unsuitable in cold climates. Other styles of tea produced in the Assam region that use the Assamica varietal include green, white and oolong, however at the time of writing, they are rarer on the global market. Some growers' continue to experiment with these styles, however.
Common tasting notes for Assam black teas teas include astringent, creamy, malty, wood-like, semi-sweet dark honey or toasted caramel, apricot and camphor.