Teas by Region
Flavors of the World
China is the oldest exporter of tea and monopolized the international tea market until Western powers started competing for trade in the 16th century. Today, China is one of the top tea producing countries in the world, with eight major tea growing areas: Guangdon, Hunan, Sichuan, Guangxi, Zhejiang, Fujian, Anhui and Yunnan. Ideal growing conditions exist throughout the tea producing regions including abundant rainfall, humidity and high, misty mountain elevations. Black, green, oolong and white teas are cultivated in China. The diversity of style and flavor profiles represented in the country compare to no other. A variety of China black, green, oolong and white teas appear in our Mighty Leaf tea selections.
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Japan, a country with an ancient tea tradition, only produces green tea, much of which is consumed internally. Japanese green tea boasts a distinctive fresh green character and appearance. Green tea is processed differently than the Chinese green teas -- after plucked, it is steamed to neutralize oxidation versus pan-fired.
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As the largest grower and consumer of tea in the world, India boasts three well-known tea growing regions: Assam, Darjeeling and Nilgiri. Around 99% of Indian tea produced is black. Darjeeling teas grown in the high altitude Himalayan foothills are often referred to as the “champagne of teas” due to their extraordinary flavor and quality. In India, these teas are picked during specific seasons or “flushes”—tea connoisseurs anxiously await the first flush each year in spring followed later by a second flush in summer. Assam, located in northeastern India, cultivates hearty, robust teas that stand up to milk and sugar. In the south, Nilgiri grows tea not widely known in the West. They are often used in blends and iced-tea.
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Sri Lanka (Teas sold as “Ceylon”)
Ceylon Teas come from the island of Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, just south of the Indian subcontinent. Sri Lanka produced coffee until the 1860s when a coffee fungus hit, effectively destroying the island's coffee industry. To diversify, plantations, owned and managed by the British, started growing tea. Most Ceylon Teas are grown in the mountain regions of the island at elevations between 3,000 and 8,000 feet on the southeastern part of the island - teas grown from the high-test elevations are known as the champagne of Ceylon teas. The finest Ceylon teas are harvested in the late summer in the eastern parts of the island, and in late spring in the western regions. Renowned as some of the worlds finest black teas, Ceylon teas from Sri Lanka are part of a family of other teas grown in India including Assam, Darjeeling, and Nilgiri.
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Afrikaans for "red bush," Rooibos is a naturally caffeine-free plant drunk like tea indigenous to South Africa. It grows in a symbiotic relationship with local micro-organisms and attempts to grow it outside this area have failed. A popular beverage in South Africa for generations, but has spread around the world since the 1930s.
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