Food and Beverage

Where Does Tea Come From?

Aside from water, tea is the most popular beverage around the world. It is available positively everywhere!

blankThe popularity of tea outside of China was in Britain. Britain’s large tea trade was due to their supremacy on the seas, making it easier for regular shipments to arrive from China. But what about where tea comes from? How does it grow?

Tea is grown on shrubs. A tea plant that has had a huge effect on the tea world is the hardy evergreen called Camellia Sinensis and would, if left in its natural state, grow about thirty feet high. In Assam, wild tea was discovered in 1823 and was cultivated and all went well. Then in 1839, the first shipment of Indian tea was brought to London.

In the meantime, Ceylon, which lost its once flourishing coffee trade to a coffee blight which wiped out their coffee industry, turned to tea. In a few years, their tea production was rivaling that of India. By the end of the century the export of tea from these two new sources was far greater than that of China. Today India and (Ceylon) otherwise known as Sri Lanka, annually exports millions of pounds of tea.

Chinese Tea Plantation

You’d think with the history and legacy of the origin of tea, China would produce a lot of tea, but this is not the case. Approximately only 20% of the worlds tea production comes out of China.

Sri Lankan (Ceylon) Tea Plantation

Ceylon tea is divided into 3 groups based on where the tea is grown: Upcountry, Mid country and Low country tea.

Assam Tea Plantation

Spanning hundreds of acres, Assam produces approximately 400 million kg of tea a year.

Three Varieties

Three types of tea are made, although they all come from the same plant, the difference being in the way the leaves are processed. The three varieties are called Black Tea, Green Tea and Oolong.

It takes an astonishing 3000 tea leaves to make up one pound of tea. Incredible! Imagine how many tea shrubs needed to supply the worlds tea demand? Astounding to learn that there is a great deal of complexity to this simple beverage, that makes it not quite so simple after all.

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