A smooth bewitching smell spreads in most Mauritian homes every morning. The sweet vanilla mixed with the delicacy of milk arouses taste buds. It is the signal that a new day is beginning, that it is a time to take a break from a long day at work, to meet some friends or simply to enjoy some calmness. This mesmerizing smell is no other than tea.
Commonly called “dité” – spelled jee-thay – in Creole, tea has been omnipresent in Mauritian life since the colonial period, around the 1800s, where the British brought the habit of tea time with them. Brought from Sri Lanka, tea plants were cultivated for exports and for the use of the population. However, this industry declined with the rise of the sugar industry during the 1990s which was more competitive at that time. Since then, tea plantations decreased substantially to give place to sugar cane fields or residential areas. Nowadays, only two major factories survived, The Corson Tea Estate and the Bois Chéri tea factory owned by St. Aubin Ltd. [Read more…]