Where do tea leaves come from? The best tea leaves come from the Cammelia Sinensis plant that tea countries produce. Nowadays we love to drink real teas that are made from this plant. Each type of real tea is produced differently.
If we look the tea history, we see that tea is home in Asia. A legend says that Chinese emperor Cheng-Nung discovered tea in 2374 B.C. when tea leaves fell into his hot water. Another legend claims that Indian monk Bodhidharma discovered it when he took a 9 year meditation trip to China.
Nevertheless who discovered tea, we have tea producing countries that give us the best quality teas on the world. You want to know from where does your tea come from? Read on and you will find interesting information about tea production in different parts of the world.
Where do Tea Leaves Come From?
There are more than 50 different types of green tropical and subtropical shrubs and low trees in tea tree generation. The most important among them is certainly the Chinese tea plant (Camellia Sinensis). It originates from South and Southeast China for thousands of years but it is also grown in India, Burma, Vietnam and Laos.
Teas that come from the tea plant are also called as real teas. They differ mainly in the way of production. We also produce essential oils from tea trees that are highly valued.
Tea Producing Countries
Nowadays, every continent has growing tea bushes but tea is home in Asia. Some countries cultivate tea for few centuries now. It is interesting that the second largest exporter of tea is a complete novice. Let us look where do tea leaves come from.
India is the largest producer of tea in the world. It produces very different types of tea. Their tea differs from region to region.
Darjeeling is tea growing area that expands in north-eastern India, in the foothills of the Himalayas.
The aroma of this green tea is pleasant, specific and irreplaceable. It can develop only if you use soft water for tea preparation.
In eastern India there is Assam that is the largest tea cultivation area in the world. Tea bushes grow on special fertile land of deforested rainforest. This tea is very aromatic and has a full taste.
Japan is also one of the leading countries of tea production in the world. Tea plantations in Japan are different from those elsewhere in the world, as the Japanese tea machine harvesting differs from picking tea elsewhere.
All Japanese tea plantations are located in the mountainous part of the country near rivers, streams and lakes. Here the climate is foggy and wet, and the heat of the sun isn’t that strong because of colder and foggy mornings.
Harvesting tea begins at the end of April. Most of the Japanese tea production is focused on green teas. While in most countries the part of the production is still manual, the Japanese tea industry mechanized the entire production process.
Picking, rolling, fermenting, drying, sorting and packing of tea is mechanized. Manual harvesting and production are used only for the most expensive teas – Kariganes and Gyokuro.
Sri Lanka has three major regions of tea production. Uva – district in the east; Dimbula area to the west and where these two regions connect.
This area is Nuwara Eliya highlands that we can found on the altitude of 2.000 to 2.500 meters. The best and most aromatic Ceylon teas grow here.
Indonesian Java and Sumatra are the two largest islands which grow tea. This island country is on fifth place in the world for the tea production quantity.
Java started to grow tea trees in the early 19th century when they planted the first tea plants from Japan. Sumatra started to grow tea in the 20th century. Teas from Sumatra give a strong flavor similar to Assam tea and tea from Java is more like Ceylon tea.
Russia grows its tea on plantations in subtropical parts of the Caucasus (Georgia). They drink almost all produced tea.
Argentina is one of the newbies in producing tea. Their tea production began soon in the 20th century but it has increased significantly after the 1954.
Brazil began to grow tea already in 1810 but production didn’t fulfill major expectations. Brazilians are more known for growing and drinking coffee which they produce with less effort. Their tea production isn’t large and doesn’t have a significant role in the world production of tea.
Englishmen brought tea bushes to Kenya that was an English colony. After the Second World War they arranged a number of large plantations around Lake Victoria which are still owned by Englishmen.
They produce mostly crushed tea that prevails in England. Superior varieties of tea from Kenyan highlands may always compare to the quality teas from Sri Lanka or Java.
Taiwan produces their tea in Chinese way. They export mainly semi-fermented green tea and oolong tea.
Chinese Tea Guide
China is undoubtedly the cradle of tea. With its rich tea tradition that goes back thousands of years, tea drinking deeply rooted in Chinese culture. Today we can enjoy in wide range of Chinese teas that grow on diverse provinces.
Chinese Tea Types
Chinese tea may be classified into different categories. One of the most common methods of classification is based on the different production of tea that affects their final characteristics. Thus, Chinese teas are divided into 6 different types, each differing in cultivation and fermentation.
Green tea is the oldest and most popular tea in China. It is made from young sprouts and leaves of the tea plant. They are fried immediately after harvesting.
It is mainly produced in the provinces Juancxi, Anhui and Zhejiang. Beverage with yellow-green color has fresh and aromatic taste.
You can find white tea only in China. Slightly fermented tea leaves create a yellow-green drink which is imbued with tenderness and mercy.
Red or black tea
Black tea is red tea in China. Tea leaves are fully fermented that give red color and a rich aromatic taste.
Oolong tea falls into the category of partially fermented teas. The oxidation rate puts him right between green and black teas. They carefully roast tea leaves in a pan. This tea has strong yellow color that gives freshness and aromatic flavor, which can be tasted for a long time.
Pu-erh teas form a special category of teas that are fermented in the later stages of production. They are made of green, oolong or black teas. Drink has a red-brown color, while the flavor is rich and mellow.
Tea manufacturers add fragrant flowers or flavor fruit to tea leaves. They will take you to a delicious experience.
The World of Real Tea
Countries from all over the world produce the best tea leaves that give us unforgettable experience each time we drink loose leaf tea. As you see, some Asian countries have specialized in tea production and have its own production methods.
Real teas differ regarding many factors and production is one of them. Are you Japanese or a Chinese tea lover? Their teas differ regarding taste, color and flavor.
So where do tea leaves come from? Farmers work hard on plantations in China, India, Japan, Taiwan and Sri Lanka to bring you the best quality tea on your table. Try teas from different places of the world and find your winner.