The Origins of Tea

Where is tea from originally and where is it grown now?

While many people associate Asia with tea, only a portion of tea now comes from that region. The first historical stories of tea tell of an accident where a tea leaf fell in a Chinese emperor’s hot water, which he drank and discovered was quite good (and will be further expounded on in our Tea Habits, Legend, and Lore section), and thus… tea the beverage was born. But beyond ancient stories, tea has been part of our collective culture for over three thousand years. Tea does originate in China, and to this day, some of the best oolong teas come from Taiwan, and green teas from it’s neighbor, Japan. Along with silk, tea is one of China’s great contributions to the rest of the world.

There are many different countries where tea is now produced. During the days of colonialism, the British, tired of their inability to control the Asian tea trade, took tea to India, where it is still heavily cultivated to this day. Over the years, cultivation has also spread throughout Asia, Indonesia, Russia, Turkey, Africa, and even South America. While a great deal of white tea and green tea still comes out of Asia, a fair amount of the black tea produced today originates outside Asia. Due to the plant’s requirements for a warm mountainous region, there are limited areas where tea can be cultivated globally.

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