World of Tea

Tea is grown in a semi-tropical band around the world characterized by sufficient daytime heat, cool nights and intense periods of rainfall. Tea is thought to have originated in Yunnan, China, but has also been found to be indigenous to Northern India, and possibly Thailand and Burma. Major tea producing countries are: India, China, Sri Lanka, Japan, Argentina and Kenya. Other smaller producers include: Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam and Georgia (Russia), Australia, Turkey, Indonesia, Iran and several African countries. We often field the question: Can tea be grown in the United States? The answer is, yes, tea could be grown in Hawaii, and other similar climates, but not commercially, due to the high cost of land and labor to produce the tea. The camilla sinesis plant is available from a few plant nurseries in the US, and makes a nice ornamental plant which blooms with small flowers once or twice a year.

Tea is about 5,000 years old and has become deeply woven throughout cultures on all continents. It has played an important part in the history of commerce, ship-building, the formation of corporations and international conflict. Wars have been fought over tea. Marriages have been celebrated with tea. Tea is a part of the world’s culture from the Chinese tea house to the Japanese Tea Ceremony to British High Tea to people’s homes and kitchens around the globe.