Best teas are manufactured in Asia.
Tea is produced in many countries around the world, though the finest comes from China,India, Sri Lanka, Japan and Taiwan. Home to majority of tea drinkers in the world these countries continue to painstakingly attend to how tea is grown and processed. In many places, tea continues to be produced by hand in accordance with age-old traditions.
India being the world’s largest tea producer, accounts for a sizable share of the world’s total tea production. However, the size of its population and the large appetite for tea means that only about half of it is available for export. Top tea growing regions include Darjeeling, Assam and Nilgiri, which produce nearly all Black tea, with Green tea being grown in the Darjeeling region and lately in the Nilgiris too. Due to the growing demand for Pure Bio-Organic teas from around the world, many of the tea estates, particularly those in Darjeeling, have converted to the organic process of production and their numbers are steadily increasing. In India, although tea used to be cultivated on small family owned plots, they have been gradually brought out by corporate houses which has ensured proper management and led to sustained growth, contributing to increased production over the years as also accounting for improvement in the quality of tea.
Sri Lanka, the new name for Ceylon – it’s old colonial name, is the third largest producer of tea in the world. It is a relative newcomer, growing tea for little over one hundred years. The three famous tea growing regions are Dambula, Uva and Nuwara Eliya. Most of Sri Lankan tea gardens are situated at elevations between 3,000 and 8,000 feet where the hot and steamy weather makes the tea bushes flush every seven to eight days. The teas are generally classified by altitude, and the higher grown are generally considered superior.
China is rightfully the birthplace of tea and continues to produce more intricate varieties than any other tea producing country. Prior to the great war of the 1940′s almost half the world’s tea output originated here, but now it accounts for less than ten percent and has fallen into second place behind India. Green tea accounts for almost two-thirds of the Chinese crop. The relatively short tea season is divided into three pickings: ‘First spring’ in April when the delicate leaf buds appear, ‘Second spring’ in early June when the bushes are full, and the less interesting ‘Third spring’ in July. The most famous Chinese teas are Keemun (black), Dragonwell (green) Wu long or Ti Kuan Yin (Oolong) and Pu- erh.
Japan is also a sizeable producer of almost exclusively Green tea. However, because it is a nation of many diverse (and voracious) tea drinkers, only about 2 percent of Japan’s teas are available for export. The most famous of teas to be exported are Sencha, Genmai Cha and Gyokuro. Japan’s role in the world of tea, however, is disproportionate to the size of its crop. Tea plays a very import role in this country’s art, philosophy, history and daily life. The world famous ‘Japanese Tea Ceremony’ is a spiritual dedication to the aesthetics of tea.
Taiwan, formerly called Formosa, a name given it by Portuguese traders, meaning “beautiful island” is amongst the five producers of finest teas. Bulk of the tea produced here is Wu long or Oolong, a cross between black and green. In the early years of its economic growth, much of Taiwan’s tea was exported. However, continued economic prosperity has increased demand from local consumers with a taste for what many consider to be the world’s finest Oolongs. Presently, only about two percent of the island’s famous teas are exported. These fall into three categories: Dark Oolongs, Jade Oolongs and the almost-green Pouchong tea.