History of tea in Mauritius

Tea, an aromatic drink usually prepared by pouring hot or boiling water on leaves, is one of the most consumed beverages in the world. Known under the name of “thé” in French, “Cha” in Mandarin, Korean and Japanese, and “Chai” in Persian and Indian, tea is available in various forms and tastes.

The Mauritian passion for tea has never wavered. The history of tea in Mauritius dates back to 1890. The first seeds of tea have been introduced from Sri Lanka (Ceylon) in 1886. In 1919, vanilla tea has been introduced on the local market and up to today, it is the most popular drink among Mauritians. Currently, there are three main manufacturers of tea in Mauritius; Chartreuse, Bois Chéri, and Corson.

In Mauritius, tea is grown on the fertile high plateaus, where the climatic conditions are ideal for the cultivation of tea of superior quality. Mauritian tea is known to be cultivated while respecting the environment, free of pesticides. The annual collection of tea leaves is 6732 tons which are grown on 574 hectares with 1295 tons of tea produced.

Over the years, Mauritians tea manufacturers have innovated in the creative mixture and the development of unique varieties of tea. Today, the tea industry in Mauritius produces more than 20 varieties of tea. The innovative products available include green tea, coconut tea, lemon tea, caramel tea, cardamom tea, lemongrass tea and other exotic fruit’s tea, iced tea, and the tea chutney.

Mauritian tea is exported mainly to France, Reunion, Madagascar, Seychelles and to other regional markets. Recently, new markets such as China, Japan, Australia, Canada, Hungary and the Czech Republic have joined the list of buyers. The Chinese are fond of the black tea of Mauritius which is considered as a luxury product.

Herbal tea is another recent development in the tea industry of Mauritius. For centuries, herbal tea has been used as a medicinal product. Arising from this use, Mauritian manufacturers have developed herbal teas with the aim of promoting their nutritional value. Today, a wide range of herbal teas is exported around the world.

During your stay in Mauritius, you can know more about the history of tea in Mauritius by following the Tea route at the tea plantation of Bois Chéri.

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