We’re going back into the archives to revisit these classic posts by James Norwood Pratt. This post includes the two-part sequence “The Assam Company” and the standalone “A Tea Martyr”. We have added a link to the end of each one to take you to the next if you would like to read them as a sequence, or you can choose which you want to peruse below. Enjoy!

The Assam Company

. . . altogether a fairer judgement would be that the Assam company undertook all the risks of a new venture and that the experience so dearly bought by them was of great value to those who began later.

Sir Percival Griffiths, KBE (1898 – 1992), The History of the Indian Tea Industry

Part One

Charles Bruce was the first to prove you did not have to be Chinese to grow and manufacture tea. Because of him, in 1839, England had its first…(Read more)

Part Two

Alas, the Assam Company was in no position to buy, being already insolvent. Less than two years after the Honorable Company had informed the world…(Read more)

A Tea Martyr

A tea man stood at the Pearly Gate,
his face was worn and old.
He meekly asked the man of fate
for admission to the fold.
What have you done, St. Peter asked,
to seek admission here?
I ran a tea estate on earth for many and many a year.
The gate swung open sharply as Peter
touched the bell.
Come in, he said, and take a harp –
you’ve had enough of hell.

Quoted by Arup Kumar Dutta, Cha Garam!The Tea Story

An overlooked hero of India’s tea saga is the Assamese Maniram Dutta Barua. He was the man who first called the native tea plant…(Read more)

Photo “Assam Tea Garden…” is copyright under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License to the photographer Bidyut Gogoi and is being posted unaltered (source)