Tea was still a relative newcomer to India in 1878 when Edward Money published the third edition of his book, The Cultivation and Manufacture of Tea. Tea growing in the Assam region had commenced about four decades earlier and about twenty years after that in the Darjeeling region.

"The Cultivation and Manufacture of Tea" by Edward Money

“The Cultivation and Manufacture of Tea” by Edward Money

By this time, the Indian tea was beginning to flourish. In addition to the two growing regions already mentioned, Money noted that tea production was underway in nine other districts in India — the Dehra Dhoon, Humaon, Cachar and Sylhet, Kangra, Hazareebaugh, Chittagong, Terai, Neilgherries (Nilgiri), and Western Dooars.

Money later spent about a half a year in the United States, which he wrote about in 1886, in The Truth About America. He characterized the tea consumed here at the time as “dreadful stuff” and noted that Indian tea was almost completely unknown. Given his connection with Indian tea, it’s a matter Money would obviously have liked to help resolve.

But I digress just a bit. As the title suggests, Money’s book is an eminently practical one. Then as now, though some of us tea connoisseurs might tend to forget it, tea was a commodity, and thus the most important thing for producers was (and is) to make money. It’s a reality that Money acknowledges with the question that opens the book – “Will tea pay?”

He suggests that it can do just that and then proceeds to provide the knowledge a would-be tea planter might need to make it happen. The book is broken down into numerous short chapters on nuts and bolts aspects of tea production, much of which does not necessarily make for gripping reading.

There are a few exceptions, however, including the opening chapter, The Past and Present Financial Prospect of Tea, which gives a sort of overview of tea growing in India at the time. Also worth a look is a chapter that takes a closer look at those ten growing districts. Last but not least, Money winds things up with an interesting chapter on The Past, Present, and Future of Indian Tea.

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