The Assam tea bush was discovered in 1823 by Robert Bruce, a Scottish adventurer, who reportedly encountered the plant growing wild in Assam while trading in the region. He noticed local tribesmen (the Singhpos) brewing tea from the leaves of the bush and sent samples of the leaves and seeds to be scientifically examined.
It was not until the early 1830s that Robert’s brother Charles arranged for a few leaves from the Assam tea bush to be sent to the botanical gardens in Calcutta for proper examination. There the plant was finally identified as a variety of tea, distinctly different from the Chinese version. Soon after, pioneering tea planters set to clearing the jungle and laying out their great tea plantations. By the late 1830s a market for the new Assam tea had become firmly established in London. Today there are over 600 tea estates in the Assam Region.