The subject of tea in China is rich, fascinating and often wanders into legend. But here are a few quick facts to get us started
• If you believe the legends, China’s tea drinking history stretches back 5000 years. If not, suffice that evidence has been found of tea cultivation as far back as 3000 years
• The tea plant, Camellia sinensis is native to China
• Tea was originally grown by the Chinese as a medicine
• China is the world’s largest producer of tea, making a whopping two million metric tons per year
• Production is focused in the South-Eastern part of the country in 18 regions that mostly make green tea for the domestic market.
The Yunnan province in South West China is believed to be where the drink of tea was discovered. Legend has it that in 2737BC the Emperor Shen Nung made the discovery when a few tea leaves fell into his cup of boiled water whilst he was resting under a Thea Sinensis tree. As he observed the water turn a light golden colour, he became enticed by the delicate aroma rising from his cup. Nowadays the Yunnan province produces a large leaf black tea.
Around a third of the world’s tea supply is produced in China and here is brief summary of the key regions within the country. In the North of China’s tea production area the Zheijiang, Anhui and Jiangxi form the ‘Golden Triangle’ and are the largest traditional producers of Chinese green tea. Keemun in Anhui are also the home to a famous black tea.
In the East, the Fujan area is the traditional home of White and Oolong Teas. In the South, near the border with Vietnam, are Jasmine plantations to which tea is transported from all over Chin and flavoured with the Jasmine flowers that grow there.
Watch the video
Ahmad Tea buys teas from all over China’s tea producing regions that are used to create some of our quality green tea blends.
Dominic Marriott, our Expert Tea Taster explains tea production in China and its significance to the world’s tea industry in this short video.