History of Tea in Mauritius
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.
In the year 1760, Mauritius was introduced to the tea plant known as Camellia Sinensis, by a French priest, Father Galleys. It was planted on a large scale by the famous botanist Pierre Poivre, but only as a museum plant. Once the British arrived on the island (during the 19th century), Robert Farquhar, the Governor of Mauritius, encouraged commercial tea cultivation, however, when he left the island, the project was abandoned.
Almost half a century later, Sir John Pope Hennessy revived the local interest in tea cultivation, and plantations were soon established in the areas of Nouvelle France and Chamarel. As more and more people became interested in tea cultivation, there was an increase in the number of private plantations and tea factories.
By the end of World War II, 5 tea factories had been established and about 850 hectares of land were dedicated to tea plantations.
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.
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.
Dubreuil Tea Factory was established in 1967, the factory provided processing facilities for leaf harvested by smallholders. In 2016, Mauristea Investment Co., Ltd. introduced new technologies and created the first innovatively made Green tea, Black tea, White tea, Yellow tea, Cake tea, Creole tea, Oolong tea, and Vanilla tea of Mauritius which based on traditional Chinese technology, it’s branded MauriceBay. Mauristea has leading tea processing technology, and MauriceBay’s popularity makes it the Tea King of Mauritius.