World Tea Producers and Products
For centuries the major tea producers have been China, Japan and India which have all long been known as the
source of most tea products. In the last two hundred years or so Taiwan and Ceylon have joined the major tea
producer list with Africa and even the U.S now growing the evergreen from which tea leaves come, albeit on a
Top Tea Producers
From China come several of the teas that grace tables around the globe, both green and black.
The green tea of China is grown at high elevations, from 2,500-4,500 feet (762m-1372m) above sea level. Climatic
conditions provide for excellent growing conditions, though the labor intensive nature of tea growing makes them
difficult to care for there. There are some varieties that are ready for harvesting for only a few weeks out of the
year, making them all the more difficult to process.
Dragon Well is a delicious green tea that comes from China. Its flat, shiny leaves that hint of chestnuts have
been enjoyed by the Chinese for centuries. Another popular green tea from China is the Jasmine Balls variety.
Rolled into a ball by tea workers, the long leaves are prepared by surrounding them with Jasmine flowers.
Keemun tea, which has been consumed in Great Britain for 150 years, also has its origins in China. As a black
tea, it's actually more popular in Europe than its home country.
Most of the green tea shipped around the planet also originates in China, Japan and Taiwan.
Tea Producers in Japan
Japan's production is among the highest of any country, thanks to yields of 1,500 pounds per acre of this fine
plant. Much of that comes from the Shizuoka region, south of Tokyo. The country consumes 98% of the home grown
product, though, so it often seems as if they are one of the minor tea producers.
One of the most popular green teas in Japan is a variety known as Sencha. Served throughout the country, tea
lovers will find it in any restaurant or store. Gyokuro is another very common tea in Japan, one with a caffeine
content that is unusually high.
Matcha green tea is a type traditionally reserved for Japanese tea ceremonies, but now finds its way into many
everyday circumstances where tea is consumed.
Hojicha, a kind of roasted tea, is also popular in Japan and has the advantage of having very little caffeine.
Perfect for those who love tea, but are sensitive to the stimulant.
Tea Producers in India
But by all accounts, India is and remains the world's most important tea producers. Demand, both internally and
throughout the world, is so high that even this giant of tea production can't satisfy it all.
For the first time in years there are appearing shortages of Indian teas. The supply has become so tight that
India now imports tea from Kenya, Indonesia and Vietnam to blend with native grown product. Kenya is among the
world's largest exporters of black tea leaf.
India has dozens of different teas. There is the world-famous Darjeeling, of course. But there is also the Assam
black, the Puttabong green and the Iyerpadi Estate black, popular for over a hundred years.
Naturally, there are many other tea producers one could mention. Rooibos from South Africa is becoming
increasingly popular in the U.S. and elsewhere. The Formosa Oolong from Taiwan has been on tables around the world
for decades, if not centuries. The delightful teas of Ceylon have had a following for two hundred years.
No tea drinker would want to be restricted to a single country's output, since - like coffee - there are so many
delightful blends from around the world. Internationalism is the hallmark of any devoted tea drinker.