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The main tea growing areas in the world

تاريخ التحديث: 6 أبريل 2020

Tea plant (Camellia sinensis) can only be cultivated in specific agro-ecological conditions; its production therefore is geographically limited to a few areas (52 countries) most of which fall within the tropical or subtropical climate. This is because it requires a lot of sunlight at temperatures ranging from 10 to 30 oC and minimum annual precipitation of 1250 mm.

At the continental level and due to historical, cultural and ecological reasons, it is not surprising that Asia accounts for the lion's share of the continental producing tea by 86%. Then by a huge margin comes the black continent by 12 %, Africa is ahead of the rest of the world because the British colonizer early initiated the manufacture of tea in some southeastern countries (such as Kenya, Malawi and Uganda ..) for commercial purposes, taking advantage of appropriate weather conditions.


As for countries, and since it is the country of origin, China tops the list of leading tea producing countries with more than 2 million tons per year and more than 40 % of the total world production according to the FAO statistics. and it is the only country that produces all varieties of tea with a major portion of green tea. It is worth noting that tea variety is based on the oxidization and fermentation techniques applied on tea leaves after picking.

Due to the vast area of China (the third largest country in the world in terms of surface area) and therefore the diversity of climatic conditions in its various zones, tea cultivation is concentrated in four main areas :

South West of China

this is the early origin of tea in China, where traces of its cultivation and use have been found for more than 5,000 years. The climate in most parts of this region is relatively moderate and stable, and its famous products are green tea, black tea, yellow tea, Pu'er tea and flower tea.

South of China The main characteristics of this region are climate and soil that are very suitable for all kinds of tea trees growing. It is therefore the most cultivated in China and produces medium to highly oxidized teas such as black tea, dark tea, black dragon tea known as 'Oolong' as well as many excellent quality varieties.

South of Yangtze River

This region has abundant precipitation and is well-known for its green tea. It also produces black and oolong tea.

North of Yangtze River

This one is characterized by lower temperatures and less rain, so it is only suitable for small-leaf kind of tea trees to grow, which makes green tea the main product in this zone.


India ranks second globally in terms of tea production at an amount of more than 1 million tons per year. tea-growing is concentrated mainly in Northeast India (including Assam), Northern Bengal (Darjeeling and Dooars) and in southern India (Nilgiris). Indian tea cultivation benefits from the tropical to subtropical climate and the purity and quality of air on the Himalayas foothills.

As for the varieties, India is famous for its black tea with unique and varied flavors, but in recent decades it began to produce other types of tea especially green, white and Oolong. India is also one of the largest tea consumers in the world, since about three-quarters of the country's total harvest is dedicated to domestic consumption.


At the beginning of the twentieth century, tea cultivation moved from India to Kenya thanks to the Europeans. Despite it is a new coming producer, Kenya was able to quickly lead and eventually occupy the third position in the global tea production top list by about half a million tons annually. and due to the weak domestic consumption, Kenya remains the world's largest tea exporter, exporting 90% of its total production. This success is due to Kenya's perfect climate and fertile red volcanic soil, long sunny days and excellent rainfall evenly distributed throughout the year.

Tea is grown along and around the Kenyan highlands and on the east and west sides of the Great Rift Valley at an altitude of 1,500 to 2,000 meters. Ninety percent of Kenya's tea crop is classified as black tea; and at lower rates green, yellow and white teas are produced on demand.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is ranked as the fourth country in the world and third in Asia amongst tea production leaders with a crop of more than 300 thousand tons per year.

Tea growing is concentrated in the central south region of the country along three geographically different altitudes within low and mountainous regions, therefore the production varies in three types of tea depending on the plant length: Low grown teas at an altitude ranging from sea level to 600 meters, Mid Grown teas which are from 600 meters to 1200 meters, and High grown teas which are grown at an elevation above 1,200m.

This regional diversity offers a crop with very wide range of flavour and colour. light, full-bodied, delicate, dark.. and golden. In the processing phase, most of the harvest is transformed into black tea. Vietnam

Vietnam produces about quarter of a million tons of tea annually; ranking fifth in the world. Tea cultivation dominates more than half of Vietnam's provinces, which are divided into three main areas:

The Northeast region which produces green tea, the most famous in Vietnam. Vietnam's Central Highlands region characterized by the production of oolong tea. Finally, the Northwest region, which is one of the rare locations in the world that have vast areas of wild tea bushes, also known as ‘snow mountain’.


Turks are known to be the most tea passionate and consuming people in the world, yet Turkey has not only outperformed its consumption rates, but has succeeded in massive tea production, what made it the sixth largest producer in the world.

Most Turkish tea plantations are concentrated in an area near the ‘Rize’ province on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, which is characterised by humid and mild climate in addition to fertile soil.The region mainly produces black tea, about 40% of which is allocated for export and the rest is used for local consumption.

Significant quantities of tea are also grown in Indonesia, Iran, Argentina and Japan, and in smaller quantities in other countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. As noted above, the main factor controlling the production of green gold is the climate. In its latest report, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has warned that ideal tea planting conditions may be at risk and are expected to be affected by contemporary climate change.

Map of tea growing areas

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