In the world tea trade South Indian tea is highly valued. The estates are quite small and each estate's taste profile is quite different from one another. During earlier times the USSR was very active in the weekly tea auction in Cochin, bidding up prices to high levels. Due to the high prices achieved at auction the South Indian tea estates maintained good husbandry and production practices that allow them to receive a return that is generally higher than most other tea growing areas.
Nilgiri is a mountainous region of Tamil Nadu State in southeastern India. The peaks of the Nilgiris rise abruptly from the surrounding plains to an elevation of 5000 - 8500 feet above sea level. Tea was first planted on an experimental basis in 1835 and the first commercial tea garden was at Thiashola Tea Garden, which began operations in 1859. The tea at Thiashola was cultivated by Chinese prisoners of war, captured by the British during the Opium Wars.
The climate of the Nilgiris allows tea to be produced all year round. The first flushes of the new season are picked from April until May and account for about 25% of the region's total harvest. The 2nd flush - accounting for about 40-45% of the yearly crop is from Sept. to Nov., and lastly the third flush is from Dec. to Jan. The best teas are produced during January and August.