South Indian tea impresses tea tasters from across the globe

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Kochi, Feb 22 (ANI): Tea tasters from across the globe gathered at the India International Tea Convention (IITC) 2009 in Kochi and got impressed with the colour, taste and aroma of the tea leaves of the region.

IITC was organized to popularise and showcase the South Indian teas to the national and international world of beverages.

"The main objective is to showcase the South Indian teas to the national and international clientele. South India tea has been suffering on account of perception issues. In actual facts, south India does produce some very exquisite teas. Through this event, we are trying to dispel this misconception," said Dharmaraj, convener, organizing committee.

International tea tasters from Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Russia, UK and Germany apart from many Indian masters were the juries for the prestigious Golden Leaf Award Southern Tea Competition of the year.

"I have come to this convention to see what progress is being made in the South Indian tea growing areas. It was known for history already that South India is able to make fabulous teas, and somehow it has not been done. I am happy to see that in the recent years, there has been progress making South Indian teas as unique and outstanding as other first class producing areas," said Marcus Wulf, tea taster from Germany.

The competition was part of the three-day tea convention conducted jointly by the United Planters' Association of Southern India (UPASI) and Tea Board of India. The convention culminated on Saturday.

The jury panel evaluated 79 shortlisted varieties of tea which qualified for the second level of screening for the Golden Leaf Award.

A tea taster, using his well-honed senses and professional knowledge, examines the wet leaves for its colour, uniformity and brightness and checks the colour of the liquor for its goldenness, brightness and checks out the aroma.

A 'tea taster' usually sips through 500 to 1,000 cups of tea on a single day to find the right leaves.

India produces around 970 million tons of tea out of which more than 250 million tons is exported.

India is the world's largest producer and consumer of tea. Tea is cultivated on at least 521,500 hectares of land in the country. By Juhan Samuel (ANI)

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