This and the next few articles will familiarise you with the major tea growing countries and regions which are mostly in the Indian Ocean rim.
It is essentially the same botanical source, but the differing tea products and flavours are created by the terroir, weather, method of processing and the expertise of the manager of the tea garden as well as the tea blender.
Let us start with the biggest producer China, who grows almost 37% of the world’s tea production.
However as most of China’s tea is consumed domestically it is not the world’s largest exporter, which is Kenya.
Tea has been a central part of life and culture in China for thousands of years for social, medical and meditative purposes.
The major provinces in China that produce tea are in the south of the country: Sichuan, Fujian, Yunnan, Hunan, Zhejiang and Anhui are the most famous.
The tea from each province has its own distinctive character, appearance and flavour.
Green tea (all provinces), Black tea (Keemun from Anhui, Yunnan), Oolong (Fujian), and Puerh (Yunnan) are the most well known.
It is essential that China tea is bought from reputable outlets to ensure authenticity, purity and quality.