Some would say that tea has been commercialized during the time of British India. But according to the documented evidence, the history of drinking tea in India dates as early as 750 BC. At that time, it was not as commercialized as it is today. Mostly it was used by monks and saints who used them to stay alert. Later it was used for its medicinal properties, like the herbal tea in India.
With time, the royals and aristocrats began to consume it. It began to be consumed commercially only after the invasion of the British in India. Their addiction to tea led us Indians to drink it on a large scale. It was a major turn for fate of tea in India. As of now, India is the second largest producer and largest consumer of tea in the world.
As per a legend, the discovery of tea was very different from that of the one with the Chinese emperor. This particular legend dates back to about 2000 years earlier. A monk, who later founded the Zen Buddhism, determines to dedicate seven years towards contemplation and prayer. During the fifth year, he was about to fall asleep. Out of resentment, he plucked some leaves of the nearby bushes and eat them.
These were nothing but tea leaves. These helped him to stay awake, by chewing them whenever he felt drowsy. Thus, he was able to keep his pledge. Followed by this, several monks consumed tea to stay awake to practice and pray. Later local people began to brew and drink it. Thus, the long journey of tea began. The tea cultivation in regions like Nilgiri, Assam and Darjeeling became mass production at the time of the East India Company.
India has several flourishing tea estates throughout its boundary. Out of which Darjeeling black tea has its unique signature all over the world. Due to the vast diversification of Indians, tea is served in many blends such as with or without sugar or milk, cold or hot. Herbal tea is one of the latest trends in India, which is preferred by the health conscious fellows.
But most of the common folks of India prefer their cup of tea with milk and sugar. Let it be a roadside tea stall or corporate board meeting, tea finds its place with love and dignity. It is the most consumed beverage, after water.