Tea was discovered in China and for hundreds of years, remained a Chinese beverage. Tea grew in popularity in Asia and made its way to Europe and England in the 16th century. In the 1830s, the British East India Company became concerned about the Chinese monopoly on tea, which constituted most of its trade and supported the enormous consumption of tea in Great Britain. The British colonists discovered tea growing wild in Assam and in the 1850s started cultivating tea plantations locally.
Historically Indians viewed tea as a herbal medicine rather than as a recreational beverage so consumption of black tea within India remained low until the promotional campaign by the British in the early 20th century, which encouraged factories, mines, and textile mills to provide tea breaks for their workers. Since then, tea has became a big part of the Indian culture