Father of Iranian Tea

Father of Iranian TeaFather of Iranian Tea

Tea production is a major industry in the Caspian Sea area and a large part of its economy.

However, this was not the case before 1900, when the British had strict monopoly over tea production in India, with strict rules to prevent non-Europeans engaging in this trade.

In 1895, an Iranian diplomat decided to change that. Kashef-ol-Saltaneh, who had studied in Paris as a young man and was fluent in French, went to India, posed as a French businessman, learned the trade, and smuggled some tea seeds and saplings to Iran.

After six years of experimentation, he introduced the first yield to the market, and started the industry that revolutionized the economy of two northern states, Gilan and Mazandaran.

Kashef-ol-Saltaneh, also known as Prince Mohammad Mirza is known today as the father of Iranian tea, and his mausoleum, in city of Lahijan, Gilan Province, houses the tea museum, as said in Iran Review website.

His tombstone had been laid bare on a hilltop of a tea farm, according to his own wishes.  

Later on, 2% of tea production revenue was allocated toward the construction of a mausoleum worthy of his standing.

Iranians are now avid tea drinkers, as anyone who has broken bread with them knows.