The cradle of the tea plant is a region that encompasses eastern and southern China, northern Myanmar, and the Assam state of India. Spontaneous (wild) growth of the assamica variant is observed in area ranging from Chinese province Yunnan to the northern part of Myanmar and Assam region of India. The variant sinensis grows naturally in eastern and southeastern regions of China. Recent studies and occurrence of hybrids of the two types in wider area extending over mentioned regions suggest the place of origin of tea is in an area consisting of the northern part of Myanmar and the Yunnan and Sichuan provinces of China.
Origins of human use of tea are described in several myths, but it is unknown as to where tea was first created as a drink.
For centuries China was the world's only tea-exporting country. Beginning in the 19th century, however, stiff competition arose as India and Ceylon began to grow tea. Today China remains one of the largest suppliers of quality teas. Green teas represent 75% to 80% of China's current consumption. The rest of the production of green teas, and all of the black teas, are exported. In the past 200 years the expansion of tea growing throughout the world has been extensive with even experimental US crops in South Carolina, the Northwest and most recently Hawaii.
Although tea is grown successfully in over forty countries throughout the world (see below), only about ¼ produce it in such marketable quantities as to render them commercially important. These countries are: Argentina, Brazil, China, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Taiwan (Formosa) and Turkey.
Click on the links below to learn more about a few of the tea countries’ histories and stories.
GEORGIA / RUSSIA
PAPAU- NEW GUINEA