The history of tea in Mauritius begins with the introduction of Ceylon tea in 1886. Over the years, this tea will be adapted to the exotic taste of the tropics with the vanilla tea in 1919. Tea, very popular among Mauritians, is a beverage inherited without doubt from the English occupation. It is customary among Mauritian families, to drink tea at breakfast and I am certainly right if I say that vanilla tea is undoubtedly the favorite of Mauritians, although tea is now available in many other exotic fragrances. The unmissable afternoon cup of tea with milk remains a blissful moment when enjoyed with our traditional bread or corn pudding.
As a matter of fact, tea is savored in different ways among the Mauritian families, and many treasure their own recipe inherited from generation to generation. Adding cardamom or star anise or fresh mint from the garden, or any other secret ingredient, and this is how we carry on with our traditions. Back in the day, tea was consumed loose and was boiled in a saucepan over wood fire. Cow’s milk added to it was dropped off by the “marsan dile” (the milkman) every morning. Mauritians often visit a “lotel dite” (Literally a Tea hotel, a shop where they mainly sell Mauritian tea and savouries) to have a cuppa at any time of the day or night (as some of them never close). Over time, tea bags have replaced loose tea while flavors of all kinds might make it difficult to choose: coconut, lemon, red fruits … Also available: green tea, iced tea, herbal tea, and some by-products such as tea biscuits and tea chutney.
As you wander through the highlands, you will surely come across large tea plantations. These small dark green shrubs rarely exceeding 1.5 meters, are planted in a temperate climate. Environmentally friendly, they contain no pesticides. Our tea is exported to Europe and China. Our brave tea pickers (mainly ladies) are at work since dawn, and should you wish to meet them, you’ ll have to wake up pretty early. The picking is done by hand. For you to discover the secrets of our local tea production, please join our “Roots” excursion. We will take you to Bois Chéri, dating back from 1892, it was the first tea plantation to start operating in Mauritius. While marveling at a green scenery with a most exquisite panoramic view, you will savour tea for two…. Or, why not, tea for many more!