Mumbai : Retailers said the demand of Darjeeling tea has plunged over 80-90% year on-year partly due to the Coronavirus pandemic has put a stop to the evening tea parties in the locals of the Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata and also said that at the same time, the black tea from Assam and Dooars has seen an uptick in domestic consumption.
Retailers said that , Darjeeling tea sells for Rs 1,000-1,200 per kg and the common black tea costs Rs 250-400. This also explains the slide in Darjeeling tea sales at a time when many people have cut back on discretionary consumption.
Kaushik Basu, secretary, Darjeeling Tea Association (DTA), said that the “Economic uncertainty is keeping this section away from Darjeeling tea. Also, the smaller tea shops which used to sell Darjeeling tea have not opened up yet, affecting the availability of this premium brew.”
Viren Shah, chairman, Federation of All India Tea Traders Association said that the tea lounges and cafes have not started functioning fully across the country, which too has impacted consumption of Darjeeling tea in the domestic market.
“Disruption in the supply chain is also a reason for the drop in domestic consumption of Darjeeling tea, “ said Production of Darjeeling tea has also taken a beating this year, down 20-25% from last year’s level of 7.8 million kg, said Basu and also said that the “Experts are also saying that the closure of gardens in 2017 for four months impacted production in the last three years. They say production will be back to 8.5 million kg by next year.”