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Tea is reaching the end of a 50-year cycle of decline and the new decade will mark the moment when everything changed. Let me explain.
The rise of convenience which brought the teabag to total domination of the tea market was excellent news for everyone. The consumer was able to buy tea of good quality in the local shop, and to make a cup of tea with no mess and no bother. Tea sales were buoyant and the trade was happy.
Once upon a time tea was a luxury product that few could afford. Tea caddies were fitted with locks to prevent the tea being stolen. Quality was high and consumers were connoisseurs.
Reaching from Fenchurch Street south to Great Tower Street, Mincing Lane was a vibrant and aromatic centre for the trading of spices, opium and most importantly tea.
Deriving its name from the Anglo-Saxon for nun (minchery), Mincing Lane is a corruption of the original Mynchen Lane which was named after the Benedictine nuns of Saint Helen’s Bishopsgate who used to hold tenements there.
The history of the London tea trade and Mincing Lane begins with the British East India Company, which held the first tea auctions in the City in 1679.
First held at East India House, famously decorated with carvings of ships, sailors and a large coat of arms, the Company held a monopoly over the import of all teas and spices being shipped from China and India.
Nestled between the meandering loops of the Tocklai River, just south of Jorhat, a once humble market town turned Cosmopolitan City, sits the Tocklai Experimental Station (TES).
The Tea Experimental Stations
Founded in 1911 with just one laboratory and two bungalows to its name the TES, or Tocklai as it is popularly known, is currently at the forefront of tea research; not bad for the oldest research station of its type in the world.
The Tea Experimental Stations in India have a proud place in the nation's tea history but they are not much known outside their home country.
After the successful creation of its Scientific Department in 1900, the Indian Tea Association (ITA) saw the many benefits gained from further examination into all aspects of tea cultivation and processing.