|Teas of the World
|For many generations tea drinkers have looked to and trusted China, Japan,
and India for their daily cup of tea. When we think about tea production we
automatically think of these countries, and although they are some of the top
tea producers, they are joined today by many other countries worldwide where
quality tea is being made on a much smaller basis, much handmade specialty
artisan tea produced on small farms or co-ops, and in some instances even at
home, right at the kitchen table, rolled and fired in small batches, one at a time.
|As early as ten years ago there were few specialty
tea shops and for those in existence the selection
of available teas was meager at best. Today there
is an abundance of tea shops, as well as quality
online stores and mail order, with the choices
The advent of air freight
and vacuum packaging
has evened the playing
field, so to speak. It
has allowed small tea
farms, co-ops, and even
individual families to market and sell their specialty
and handmade artisan teas worldwide, something
that wasn't possible even a decade ago.
|Today tea is produced in over 50 countries. Many of styles and flavors (there is said to be over
20,000 distinct tea variations) that can now be air freighted to the West, arriving in a matter of
days, fresh and flavorful as ever due to vacuum packaging.
The top ten tea producing countries are (in order of production
amounts): China, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Turkey,
Japan, Vietnam, Argentina, and Bangladesh, with China and
India consistently vying for the number one slot.
Nearly every tea producing country has stepped up efforts with
increased production, wider selection, and upgrading quality
where needed. In some cases old factories and machinery are being upgraded and new
processing facilities are being built and many small tea farms and co-ops are adding new
handmade specialty and organic teas, all in response to the increasing demand for more tea
|Up and Coming World Tea Producers
|There are places you may not expect to see tea production, but as the demand for high quality
tea continues to rise, the amount needed to meet that demand grows exponentially with it.
The top three tea producing countries are forever rivals, China and India at number one and
two, with the number three slot going to Kenya.
On a much smaller scale for production are
countries like Taiwan whose tea industry
began in the mid 1850's, when Chinese
immigrants left their Fujian home and
migrated there. By the end of the 19th
century nearly two million former Fujian
residents had made their way to the island,
bringing their excellent tea making skills
Today Taiwan is helping meet the world-
wide demand for high quality teas, export-
ing about 70% of its annual yield of green
and black tea, along with their oolong teas
for which they're most famous.
In Bangledesh, where the first tea garden was plant-
ed in 1857, the Bangladesh Tea research Institute is
working on developing a new higher yielding clone
that produces more tea per acre, thus increasing
the amount of tea available for export.
Indonesia, whose tea industry went into a decline after WWII
has worked tirelessly to come back. With an increase in produc-
tion and improvement in quality, they are helping to meet the
ever growing demand worldwide for CTC teas for tea bag
blends, producing 165 metric tons in 2004.
Bolivia is mostly unknown as far as tea production goes. Tea
cultivation began there in the 1930's when German and Dutch companies established planta-
tions and processing facilities, but at the end of 2001 only two factories remained, with just a
handful of tea farmers continuing to grow tea.
In 2005 their tea industry was revived with help from the United States
Agency for International Development (USAID). Today more than 200
Bolivian farms operate, growing organic teas and specialty black, green,
and jasmine teas.
In the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains that form the border between
Georgia and Russia, the conditions are perfect for growing tea, with clean
air, fertile soil, abundant rain, and clear running water. Here Georgia tea
growers are producing fine, organic handmade teas, some right in their
Just as in China, where each generation hands down their secrets, skills, and knowledge of tea
production, the Georgian elders teach the next generation how to produce the highest quality,
most fragrant, flavorful teas possible. From plucking to rolling, each family has its own methods
of making tea that is passed down.
|To learn more or for more information about tea, visit our other pages:
Herbal teas-bringing together tea
and herbs, two of nature's powerhouses.
The teas of Japan-where age old
tradition meets new age demand.
Which three teas is India
most famous for?
Which teas come from China?
What do wine and tea harvests
have in common?
How to make your own blended
and flavored teas.
Yixing teapots-where beauty
The gift of tea-why tea makes the perfect gift.
Is each type of tea brewed differently? How long should tea be steeped?
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No reproductions of any kind allowed without permission.
|For a great selection of quality teas, gifts, and
The Tea Detective's Gift of Tea Store
| For decades Georgian families have been quietly making quality orthodox black teas
by hand. Now, with help from a local entrepreneur and other businesses, these teas
are finally finding their way onto the world market, where their quality and flavor are
These are just a few examples of up and coming tea producing countries that are
working to bring quality teas to our table. It's an exciting time for tea growers as
more people everyday realize teas pleasures and benefits.
Stop by often as we explore each country individually, looking at the types of tea they produce, the processing
methods, climate and growing seasons, and other interesting aspects of the people and cultures that allow us to
experience the amazing array of teas that are being brought to our tables everyday. Enjoy.