A Taste of Tradition: Exploring the Rich Heritage and Flavors of Kangra Tea

Nestled in the peaceful beauty of the Kangra Valley in Himachal Pradesh, India, is a tea region that attracts tea lovers and enthusiasts. Kangra Tea, with its long history, unique flavors, and high quality, is a true treasure of the Himalayas. Join us on a journey through the different seasons of Kangra Tea, where each sip celebrates nature’s gifts and the hard work of the tea growers.

Kangra Tea Receives Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Status

The European Commission (EC) has granted Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status to India’s unique Kangra tea, grown in Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra district. The EC notified this on March 22, with the status coming into effect on April 11, 2023.

This recognition comes as the EC has been slow to grant similar status to Basmati rice. India applied for a GI tag for Basmati rice in 2018, but the European Union (EU) insists on India and Pakistan holding talks to ensure both countries’ Basmati rice gets recognition. However, Pakistan has not yet met the necessary requirements.

No ‘Statement of Opposition’: In its notification, the EC stated that it had received no “statement of opposition” to the PGI for Kangra tea, allowing it to be registered.

The Historical Roots of Kangra Tea

The story of Kangra Tea dates back to the mid-19th century when tea was first cultivated in the region. Following a feasibility survey in 1848-49 by Dr. Jameson, a Chinese variety of Camellia sinensis was planted, flourishing particularly well in Palampur and Dharamshala. By the 1880s, Kangra Tea had garnered a reputation for its superior quality, even earning accolades at international conventions in London and Amsterdam in 1886 and 1895.

However, the 1905 Kangra earthquake dealt a severe blow to the region’s tea industry, causing extensive damage and leading to a decline in production. Despite these setbacks, the resilience of the local tea growers ensured that Kangra Tea continued to be produced, albeit in smaller quantities. Recent efforts have focused on reviving this historic tea, with renewed interest and research aimed at increasing production and restoring its former glory.

Kangra Tea got National GI tag in 2005-06 under the Geographical act of 1999 of India.

The Unique Characteristics and Production of Kangra Tea


Kangra Tea, grown since the mid-19th century, is renowned for its unique flavor and taste, available as both black and green tea. According to the Tea Board, Kangra tea is cultivated at elevations between 900 to 1,400 meters above sea level with annual rainfall of 270-350 cm. The climate, characteristic terrain, soil conditions, and the coolness from the snow-clad mountains contribute to the tea’s distinct quality.

Exclusive Flavors

The first flush of Kangra tea has a unique aroma and flavor with a hint of fruitiness. The black tea has a sweet lingering aftertaste, while the green tea has a delicate woody aroma. Kangra tea is slightly milder in flavor compared to Darjeeling tea and has more body and liquor, making it a distinct choice for tea connoisseurs.

The Seasonal Symphony of Kangra Tea

Kangra Tea offers a unique experience with each flush, capturing the essence of the changing seasons in the Kangra Valley.

First Flush: The Elixir of Spring

As winter bids farewell and spring breathes new life into the Kangra Valley, the first flush of Kangra Tea emerges. Delicate and tender tea leaves, vibrant with hues of green, are carefully harvested, infused with the freshness of the mountain air. The resulting brew is a fragrant cup of rejuvenation, with light floral notes and hints of fruit dancing on the palate. Each sip of the first flush Kangra Tea is a celebration of spring’s arrival, a symphony of flavors that awaken the senses.

Second Flush: The Golden Nectar

With the arrival of summer, the second flush of Kangra Tea unfolds, offering a transformation in flavor and character. The tea leaves mature, acquiring a golden hue that hints at the richness within. Steeping into a cup, the second flush Kangra Tea reveals a deep amber liquor, exuding a complex profile that balances sweetness with a gentle astringency. It’s a golden nectar that delights the palate, leaving behind a lingering sweetness that beckons another sip.

Monsoon Flush: The Essence of Rain

As the monsoon clouds blanket the Kangra Valley, a unique flush of Kangra Tea emerges, aptly named the “monsoon flush.” Rain-kissed tea leaves absorb the moisture, infusing the brew with the essence of the rainy season. The resulting cup is robust and earthy, with a refreshing quality that mirrors the rejuvenating touch of the rain. Sipping on the monsoon flush Kangra Tea is akin to experiencing the rhythm of nature, a comforting warmth amidst the pitter-patter of raindrops.

Autumn Flush: The Harvest of Tranquility

As summer fades into autumn and the landscape transforms into a canvas of golden hues, the autumn flush of Kangra Tea arrives. Harvested during this tranquil season, the tea leaves offer a cup of serenity, with subtle sweetness and hints of honey and dried fruits. The autumn flush Kangra Tea is smooth and mellow, a soothing companion amidst the changing colors of nature, inviting moments of tranquility and reflection.

Winter Flush: The Sublime Serenade

In recent years, certain tea gardens in the Kangra Valley have ventured into the realm of winter flush Kangra Tea, defying traditional conventions. Although rare, these teas offer a sublime symphony of flavors, with delicate floral notes and a gentle sweetness that captures the serene beauty of the winter landscape. Each sip is a serenade to the tranquil beauty of the valley, a moment of bliss amidst the winter chill.

Tea Tourism in Kangra Valley

Tea tourism is gradually gaining popularity in the Kangra Valley, offering visitors a chance to explore the tea estates and factories. Estates like the Mann Tea Estate and Towa Tea Estate, owned by the Dharmsala Tea Company, offer guided tours and homestays. The Palampur Cooperative Tea Factory also provides factory tours and accommodations, allowing tea enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the tea-making process and the serene beauty of the valley.

Conclusion: A Tribute to Nature’s Bounty

In the world of tea, Kangra Tea stands as a testament to the harmonious relationship between nature and craftsmanship. From the delicate freshness of the first flush to the golden richness of the second, the earthy allure of the monsoon flush, the tranquil embrace of the autumn flush, and the sublime serenade of the winter flush, Kangra Tea offers a captivating range of flavors and aromas.

As you savor a cup of Kangra Tea, allow yourself to be transported to the serene beauty of the Himalayas, where each flush whispers tales of nature’s bountiful offerings. With every sip, pay homage to the skill, dedication, and passion of the tea growers who nurture the tea plants amidst the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Kangra Valley. Cheers to the timeless tradition and exquisite flavors of Kangra Tea, a Himalayan treasure waiting to be discovered.