Regions of tea cultivation
There is a geographical division of tea depending on the country of origin.
Ceylon. The island of tea.Ceylon is often called the island of tea as its generous lands and humid climate are ideal for this tea plant. The tea grown there is appreciated for its soft, balanced flavour and bright distinctive aroma.
It is remarkable that nature created the land of Ceylon for tea, but not created tea variety for Ceylon: the first tea bushes were brought there just over one century ago and up to the middle of the XIX century only coffee was grown there until destroyed by epidemic in 1869. By the beginning of the XX century Ceylon became the country of tea. And Sri Lanka today is one of the leading tea empires.
Main tea plantations of Ceylon are located in its central part. The local tea is divided into plain, foothill and mountain varieties.
India. Tea Klondike.Jorge Orwell, the English writer famous for his utopia “1984”, also created the essay “A Nice Cup of Tea” which claims that “tea is one of the main stays of civilization”. A nice cup of tea, in its turn, invariably means Indian tea. And India was the first country after China that began industrial cultivation and harvesting of tea. Today this country is a real tea Klondike. Annually India produces more than 800 thousand tons of tea.
All Indian teas are divided into two large groups – northern and southern. Due to the country’s extension from north to south climatic conditions vary greatly and so are the teas. Northern tea is considered to be more exclusive, has strong color and distinctive tart mouth puckering flavor.
One of the most famous Indian tea growing regions is the province of Assam, located at the foothill of the Himalyas, the sacred valley of the Brahmaputra river. Today Assam is the largest territory for tea cultivation and the source of almost half of all Indian teas. The territory is divided into Upper, Middle and Lower regions.
A significant part of yield in Assam is harvested during the rainy season, so the Assam tea is romantically called "the tea of rain."
Assam tea is very spicy dark and strong with rich, full and bright color of infusion.
High-plantations in the Himalayas, located at an altitude of about 2000 meters, is the place of one of the world's finest teas - Darjeeling, which stands alone in the family of the north-Indian teas. It is called the "champagne of teas" for its amber light infusion, exceptional flavor with floral and fruity notes and unique nutmeg taste.
South-Indian teas are relatively homogeneous, sometimes even “harsh” and therefore traditionally served with milk. The only exception is local Nilgiri tea. It grows at unique plantations located 1800 meters above sea level. Nilgiri tea has a gentle tart flavor and a light golden color.
Kenya. Gold of the dark continentTea is cultivated in many African countries – in Burundi, Zaire, Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa. Kenya has a special place among these countries as the volume of produced and exported tea is several times more than in other African countries combined.
Although Kenyan tea is only known for a few decades it became very popular during the recent years. Queen Elizabeth II prefers exclusively Kenyan tea and despite its relatively high price it is in great demand in the UK.
Kenyan climate is ideal for this plant – red volcanic soils, mountains, tropical weather and proximity of the Equator ensure stable tea quality. Kenyan teas do not have such distinctions as Indian, almost every plantation is located high in the mountains and the tea is considered an eco-friendly product all over the world.
Main peculiarity of Kenyan teas is that practically every variety is granulated. The granule size ranges from relatively large to the smallest.
Indonesia. The earthy heavenIndonesia is considered the earthy heaven due to its soft equatorial and subtropical climate, wilderness, mountain resorts that can compete with the Swiss Alps, unique architectural monuments and excellent tea. Tea plantations of Indonesia are located on the islands of Java and Sumatra. The first plantations were arranged by the Dutch colonists in the XIX century.
Indonesian teas are grown in plains, foothills and mountains and each type has different specific flavor and amazing clear golden infusion.
China. Continuation of traditionChina has been forming its traditions for several thousand years. These traditions are still relevant today – the tea is grown at the state plantations, small private farms and even family yards. Often it is handled in semi-handicraft conditions on small factories. During withering, fermentation and drying the Chinese black tea gets its fruit or fruit-smoky aroma and taste, which makes this tea unique.
16 Chinese provinces are involved into cultivation and production of tea. The most famous of them are Anhui, Zhejiang, Fujian, Hunan, Sichuan, Yunnan. In the south of China in the provinces of Yunnan, Hunan and Guangzhou leaves are picked throughout the year, in other regions – only between April and October.
Each province makes its own list of famous teas and the resulting catalog includes several hundred names. When there are four degrees of fermentation in other countries, china offers a real palette. There are green, turquoise, white, yellow, red and black teas. Chinese tea can have shades from silvery-white and turquoise-green to orange-red and almost black.
There is a great variety of tea in China, but all of them have a common rich aroma and velvet taste.
Vietnam. Along the Red RiverAlthough the Vietnamese peasants still drink a beverage made of fresh tea leaves, which grow in this area since ancient times, the first tea plantations for commercial cultivation of tea were founded in Vietnam (former Tonkin) by French colonists in the 20-ies of the XVIII century, and industrial production began in 1890 in the northern province of Phu Tho.
The real tea industry in Vietnam started developing after the August revolution of 1945 and especially after the war for independence.
Tropical climate and abundance of rains create excellent conditions to the tea. Usually this plant is grown in the northern part of the country - in the highlands and plains of the Red River Delta. The southern plantations are located in the province of Lam Dong. Northern teas are considered more exclusive than those grown in the south. The country produces a lot of tea annually. Vietnamese green tea is as good as the best Chinese varieties and is highly appreciated all over the world. Vietnamese experts follow the Chinese experience and add jasmine, roses and other natural flavors to compositions.