International Tea Consultants & Authorised Auctioneers of "Tea Board of India" - Coonoor (TN), Coimbatore (TN) and Cochin (Kerala), India

 

World Tea - Production & Culture

 

World of Tea:

Tea is the world's most popular beverage. From the north of Russia to the tip of southern Africa...from the West Coast of America to the Far East...tea is enjoyed in endless different ways. Its versatility makes it the perfect drink, adaptable to every climate and culture.



The wide variety of world teas tends to disguise the fact that they all come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. The tea plant flourishes with plentiful rain (at least a metre a year), acid soils, and quite specific seasonal variations in temperature. Despite the need for such conditions, along with regional and climatic differences it can still produce hundreds of subtle variations of flavour and aroma - enough to make the world of tea as varied as those who drink it.

INDIA

Production:
History
* Unsuccessful experiments with Chinese tea seeds in Assam were followed by the discovery of native tea trees in 1820. Two Scottish brothers, Charles and Robert Bruce, convinced the East India Company that the native trees would do better.

At that time, tea-growing was a skill that was unknown in the Indian subcontinent. It took the Indian tea-growers a few decades to get production right, but they were diligent and industrious. Nowadays, India has 39,700 tea estates (32,000 in the south and 6,700 in north) and a tea-producing workforce in excess of two million people.

Locations*
Indian tea comes from three main areas. In the north-east lie the lowlands of Assam and the precipitous heights of Darjeeling. And in the south, lie the Nilgiri range or Blue Mountains.

Assam is by far the largest tea-producing region. Almost 45% of India's tea comes from estates that have been planted in the great valley of the Brahmaputra River. The finest teas come from the second flush, which lasts roughly from mid-May till the end of June. Production continues to the end of November/early December, but the quality diminishes as the crop increases during the rains.

Darjeeling is on the northern edge of West Bengal. The tea is grown at heights of 1,000 to 2,000 metres on estates that cling to the foothills of the Himalayas. The mountains rise away to the north where, on a clear day, you can see the distant snows of Mt Everest. The two main quality flushes come in March to April and mid May to mid-June, with production continuing through the monsoon to the end of year.

Most tea from South India is produced in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, with the hill station of Ootacamund or “Ooty” lying within this tea growing area.

Tea types*
T
ea from
Assam is strong and heavy-liquoring with a malty taste. It adds strength and thickness to a blend, as well as being enjoyed in its own right. The tea is sold at auctions in Calcutta and in Guwahati, the capital of Assam.

Darjeeling has a huge range of subtle variations. The first flush tends to be more intensely flavoured, whereas the second flush is more delicate and subtle. Darjeeling is golden-coloured with good clarity and has a grapey, muscatel character.

The total quantity of tea from Darjeeling is no more than nine million kilos, yet the quality and variety is totally unique to the region, throughout the season.

Tea Fact File

Tea Production

980m kilos

Production Market Share

26%

World Production ranking

2

Tea Exports

196m kilos

Export Market Share

11.91%

World Export Ranking

4

Percentage Exported

20%

Tea first grown

indigenous with commercial cultivation since 1835

Culture:
A thirsty nation
The country that produces the most tea, also drinks the most tea. About 80% of Indian tea (about 784m kilos) is consumed in the home market. The surprise is that before commercial growing began in the first half of the nineteenth century, tea-drinking was virtually unknown in India.

Tea leaves go further in India than they do elsewhere. Strong teas that give good, cup-after-cup extraction rates are preferred. The more cups from a single brew, the better.

A meal in a cup*
Indian tea is brewed in a single pot with lots of milk and sugar – and sometimes spices – all added at the same time. Each pot is brewed many times over to make it go further.

With all those calories piled in, tea becomes a far more sustaining drink. In a nation where hunger is never far away, tea is drunk as if it were a food. At street-corner and roadside teashops, it provides an instant pick-me-up and a chance to linger for a moment to catch up on the news of the day.


KENYA

History*
The first Kenyan teas were planted in 1903, although the industry made little impact on the world market until the 1950s. Tea production is split between privately owned estates and small holdings. In 1964, the Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA) was set up to assist the smallholders. It operates its own tea factories and buys leaf from the smallholders. Approximately 277,000 independent growers are affiliated to the KTDA, and collectively they raise more than 60% of the Kenyan tea crop.

Locations
Kenya's equatorial location provides the country with the capacity to produce large amounts of tea. Seasonal variations are small, so the tea bushes flush all year round, with the best teas picked in February/March.

The tea estates straddle the equator, roughly in a band that runs westwards from Mount Kenya across beautiful hill country. Most are found in remote areas where coffee is also an important crop.

The best teas are found to the east, in the Regati region. However the older estates of Nandi and Kericho, situated in the Great Rift Valley, lie in the west.

Tea is sold either through the Mombasa Auctions or privately.

Tea types*
Kenya is the UK's second largest supplier of tea. Kenyan tea, is coloury and brisk, and is an excellent blending compliment to Assam. The majority of tea is processed via the CTC (Cut, Tear, and Curl method) and comes in three main grades (Broken Pekoe, Pekoe Fannings, and Pekoe Dusts). This is largely destined for use in tea bags, where it contributes a strong flavour and reddish colour.

Tea Fact File

Tea Types

Black

Tea Production

346m kilos

Production Market Share

9.23%

World Production ranking

3

Tea Exports

383m kilos

Export Market Share

23.27%

World Export Ranking

1

Percentage Exported

110%

Tea first grown

1903


 

SRILANKA

History*
Until the mid-1800s, Sri Lanka's main crop was coffee, but the coffee rust fungus devastated plantations in 1869, and this was the point when Sri Lankan industry turned to tea.

Tea-growing trials had already started to take place on the island. With the loss of the coffee crop, the pressure was on to expand tea production to replace it. The driving force behind the rapid development of the Sri Lankan tea industry was a Scotsman called James Taylor. His early successes have been built upon spectacularly by the Sri Lankans. The country may be small geographically, yet it ranks third in terms of the world’s tea products.

Tea from Sri Lanka is still known by the country's former name of Ceylon. The Sri Lankans wisely chose to retain a name that was synonymous with fine quality tea.

Locations
Tea is grown in the southern half of the teardrop-shaped island. The estates roughly encircle the central mountainous area at elevations between 100 and 2,500 metres. All Sri Lankan tea is picked by hand.

Teas which grow on the western slopes, are broadly classified as Dimbula teas. These receive Monsoon rains during August and September, and produce their best quality teas during the dry months of January and February. Teas on the eastern slopes, are classified as Uva teas. These receive their Monsoon between January and March with fine flavoury teas being produced during the dry period of August and September.

Only about 10% of Sri Lankan tea may be sold privately. The rest is sold through the auctions in Colombo held every Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the year.

Tea types
Ceylon Breakfast is often characterised by the districts in which the bushes grow, on the sides of the central hill areas and also by the elevation of the gardens i.e. low, medium or high grown.

Twinings products offer something of everything from Sri Lanka from pure blends which contain nothing but Ceylon tea, to blends of Ceylon with complimentary teas from other parts of the world.

In Sri Lanka, orthodox teas from low-grown estates are known as roller teas. The leaves are rolled around and twisted. Some countries, such as Russia, select these Ceylon teas on the appearance of the dry leaf rather than the colour and flavour of the liquor, which medium and high grown teas are typically selected on.
 

Tea Fact File

Tea Types

Black, Plus small amount of Green Tea

Tea Production

318m kilos

Production Market Share

8.48%

World Production ranking

4

Tea Exports

299m kilos

Export Market Share

18.17%

World Export Ranking

2

Percentage Exported

94%

Tea first grown

Commercially since 1869



INDONESIA 

Production:
History
The Indonesian islands have a long historical connection with tea. As far back as the seventeenth century, the island of Java was used as a staging post by the Dutch East India Co for the onward transportation of Chinese tea. By the early eighteenth-century, Dutch settlers were already establishing tea plantations on the island. Production soon followed on Sumatra and, latterly, on the island of Sulawesi.

The devastation of World War II effectively destroyed the Indonesian tea industry and it took many years before the plantations recovered. It was not until 1984, backed by the newly-formed Tea Board of Indonesia that a program for the introduction of improved clonal tea varieties was started.

Locations
The bulk of Indonesian tea comes from the island of Java. Picking is typically done manually, with the main growing area to the west of the island around Bandung.

Tea is picked all year round in Indonesia, but the best quality comes during the dry season of August and September.

Tea estates are either privately owned or government run companies that are called PTPN’s (Perseroan Terbatas Perkebunan Nusantara), each of which has a number of tea estates under its control. 

The majority of Indonesian tea, is sold via auctions held every Wednesday in Jakarta. This is the only tea auction in the world that is not conducted in English.

Tea types
Green tea production was introduced in the late 1980’s, and now accounts for nearly 60% of Indonesian tea production. Much of which goes to meet domestic demand for Jasmine scented tea, a tea produced by scenting green tea with the aroma of Jasmine flowers. Current black tea production is based on tea plants originally imported from Assam, and are mostly exported for blending.

There is no specific variations in flavour between black teas from the different islands, although the best quality does tend to come from the government-owned estates.
 

Tea Fact File

Tea Types

Green and Black

Tea Production

148m kilos

Production Market Share

3.95%

World Production ranking

6

Tea Exports

95m kilos

Export Market Share

5.77%

World Export Ranking

6

Percentage Exported

64.19%

Tea first grown

1700s



CHINA

Production: *
History
The history of Chinese tea is a long and slow story of refinement. Generations of growers and producers have perfected the Chinese way of producing tea, along with its many unique regional variations.

The original idea is credited to the Emperor Shen Nung. That story is legend; all we really know is that tea-growing and tea-drinking probably began in Yunnan as a way of making boiled water palatable.

The methods of tea production practiced elsewhere in the world derive from the 5,000-year Chinese lead. Although the world has moved on, the Chinese have to some extent stuck to their traditions. Chinese equipment is often antiquated; growing is often still done on a small scale by local co-operatives; and the mechanisms for buying and selling are largely state-run, although this situation has been changing rapidly over the past couple of years.

Tea for export used to be sold through a state-controlled export corporation. Nowadays, many private-enterprise organisations are involved in the export of tea. They are becoming more responsive to market forces and are helping to produce teas that are adapted to the needs of the wider world market.

Locations
Tea is grown widely throughout south-eastern China – roughly the area south of a line from Shanghai to southern Tibet. Since ancient times, the best teas have come from mountainous regions. A total of 18 provinces are involved in tea-growing. Most grow their tea in village cooperatives.

The growing season runs from the end of March to October and November depending upon the region. The season begins – and lasts longer – in Yunnan, where the climate is more temperate. During the season, four crops are harvested: a spring crop followed by a break; two summer crops in June and July/August; and finally an autumn crop in September.

Other key provinces for tea production are Sichuan, Hunan, Anhui, Zhejiang, Fujian, and the island of Hainan.

There are no tea auctions in China. Tea is purchased through direct negotiations between international tea-buyers and individual Chinese export companies. These companies purchase directly from co-operatives, then pre-blend into standard tea types ready for sale to the international market. Trade is facilitated by the twice-yearly (April and October) Export Commodities Fair held in the city of Guangzhou in the southern province of Guangdong.

Tea types
China produces the world's largest variety of fine quality teas, many of which are still processed by hand. There are literally thousands of types, of which only a small proportion are available outside China.

The three main types of tea are green, oolong, and black. The chief difference between the three types is in the extent of the oxidation process. Green tea is processed for the shortest length of time; black, for the longest. China also produces several other types of tea: scented teas incorporate other plants to enhance the flavour and aroma; compressed teas are pressed into solid blocks; white teas have a silvery appearance; and pu-erh tea is sold for its medicinal qualities.

All Chinese tea is processed at state-controlled tea plants. The historical development of the Chinese tea trade has resulted in the two stages of processing being done at separate locations. During the first stage, the raw leaves are turned into green or black tea. At the second stage, the processed leaves are graded by hand.

Z
hejiang, south of Shanghai, is renowned for its green teas. It's where
Gunpowder Green Tea comes from. Further south, near the coast of Fujian, is the source of many specialty teas such as Lapsang Souchong and Jasmine, a fragrant blend of green tea with freshly-picked jasmine flowers. The semi-fermented China Oolong also comes from Fujian.

The provinces of Anhui and Yunnan produce excellent black teas – Keemun (from Anhui) and Yunnan. Yunnan is also the source of the rarer brick and compressed teas that come in a variety of solid shapes.

Tea Fact File

Tea Types

green, oolong, black, white, scented, and compressed

Tea Production

1160m kilos

Production Market Share

31%

World Production ranking

1

Tea Exports

297m kilos

Export Market Share

18.04%

World Export Ranking

3

Percentage Exported

25.60%

Tea first grown

indigenous and cultivated for 5,000 years

Culture:
Tea and Tradition
In China, almost every aspect of the growing and production of traditional teas is controlled. Qualities are standardised and, in some cases, tea is grown and processed according to instructions in official manuals. The precision of these manuals extends to the detail of the operatives' hand movements.

The Chinese drink green teas and some oolongs – in both cases without milk. Black teas are produced solely for export. With 5,000 years of history behind them, the regions have developed different methods of brewing. Some use Western-style teapots; others use tiny teapots; yet others brew their tea straight in the cup.

During the early era of communism, and especially during the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), tea-drinking was regarded as bourgeois. The tea houses were shut and few people could afford tea. They drank plain hot water instead – but still called it tea.


Formal tea
The era of tea repression is now over and the tea houses (the Chinese name translates literally as 'tea-art house') have reopened. Visitors sit on cushions at low tables to drink fine quality teas. Their tea is brewed in a tiny, satsuma-sized teapot, then poured into even tinier cups. The teapot may be infused three or four times.

In the tea house, the drinking of tea is about appreciating tea for its flavour, aroma, and appearance, rather than the quenching of thirsts. It's a social occasion, without formal dress, at which small snacks (such as preserved fruits or melon seeds) accompany the tea. The ceremony is not just confined to tea houses; on special occasions, the Chinese perform it at home.

Everyday tea
At work, the Chinese brew and drink their green tea in the same mug. Many tea-brewing mugs come with built-in strainers. The same set of tea leaves will be infused three or four times, with the second infusion generally regarded as the best. 


ARGENTINA

Production:
History
Cultivation and processing of tea developed in the 1950s as an extension of the maté industry.

Locations
Tea is grown in the extreme north-eastern tip of the country in Misiones. Almost all of Argentina's tea-production comes from this area.

Harvesting is completely mechanised. The harvesters straddle the tea bushes and mow the tips as they advance down the rows.

Tea types
Teas from Argentina tend to be plainer. Their neutral flavours lend themselves to blending.

The majority of the harvest finds its way into the iced teas of North America. Argentinean tea has the unusual property of retaining its clarity when poured over ice. Less forgiving teas cloud when subjected to the shock of ice.
 

Tea Fact File

Tea Types

 

Tea Production

72m kilos

Production Market Share

1.92%

World Production ranking

9

Tea Exports

75.50m kilos

Export Market Share

4.59%

World Export Ranking

7

Percentage Exported

105%

Tea first grown

1951



 AUSTRALIA

 Culture:

Billy tea
"...and he sang as he looked at his old billy boiling, Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?"

Early Australian settlers brewed their tea in a billy. They made it this way out of necessity - Australians today, do it simply because they love it.

A billy is a metal can with a wire handle. This is filled with water and suspended over a fire. When the water boils, it is removed from the fire, and a handful of tea leaves are added. This is then left to brew for a few minutes.

The next part requires some level of caution and skill. In order to get the tea leaves to sink to the bottom, the billy is swung back and forth at arm's length. This requires a purposeful swing, any hesitant action would therefore result in a painful scalding.

Finally, the tea is poured into metal mugs, with milk and sugar added, although it's unlikely the early settlers would have had access to either.

A variation of this is to add a few scented eucalyptus leaves with the tea.

 



 GREAT BRITAN

 
Culture:

Afternoon tea
Afternoon tea is the closest the English get to a tea ceremony. The fine china...the tinkling of teaspoons...polite conversation...cucumber sandwiches (without the crusts)...they're all redolent of a certain way of life, now largely vanished. But the tradition lives on informally at countless teashops, at village fêtes, and in homes throughout Britain.

It was the Victorians who perfected afternoon tea and who introduced the full range of accessories to go with it. More than a century later, tea in the afternoon fits as easily into contemporary British life as it did in Victorian times.

Cream tea
A cream tea is an indulgent version of afternoon tea. It's a treat that's as popular with tourists as it is with Britons themselves.

The gentility of the event comes from the fine china and the ceremony of the tea-pouring. The indulgence comes from the delicacies that go with them.

To accompany their pot of tea, diners eat scones, clotted cream, and ideally home-made strawberry jam. The scone (pronounced 'skon') is a traditional form of baked bun, with a sweet and crumbly texture halfway between bread and cake. Diners split their scone horizontally, then spread each half with generous helpings of jam and clotted cream.

Clotted cream is a speciality of the South West of England. The counties of Devon and Cornwall vie with each other over who makes the best - and over how to dress a scone. Devonians put the jam on top of the cream; in Cornwall, they put the cream on top of the jam.

Milk first or last?
Few British habits are as deep-rooted and as resistant to change as the order of pouring milk and tea into a teacup. Europeans who take their tea without milk cannot comprehend the vehemence with which Britons argue their case.

Britons do at least agree on why milk was originally added first. The fine Chinese porcelain bowls in which tea was served in the seventeenth century seemed so delicate that tea-drinkers feared hot tea would crack them. By adding milk first, they cooled the tea as it entered the cup and reduced the likelihood of damage.

But that was several hundred years ago. Which order of pouring - milk first or last - is still appropriate for life in the twenty-first century?

There is an argument that revolves around the extent to which hot tea scalds the milk. Although neither side can claim their method of pouring causes the least amount of scalding, nor can they agree on whether the actual scalding of milk is good or bad for the flavour of the tea.

Both methods are reputed to provide greater control over the proportions of milk and tea. In A Nice Cup of Tea (London Evening Standard, 1946), George Orwell claimed that "...by putting the tea in first and then stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk..."

In the end it all boils down to tradition and personal habit. First or last with the milk, your favourite style of tea always tastes good.

Tea bushes in Britain
Alas, the climate in the British Isles is not ideal for growing tea. Nevertheless, there are places where you can see a tea plant growing in carefully supervised conditions. Here are a few of them:

Birmingham
The Birmingham Botanical Gardens & Glasshouses

Cambridge
Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Dublin
National Botanic Gardens, Dublin
Glasnevin, Dubin 9; Tel 00 353 1 837 4388

Edinburgh:
Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

Leicester
University of Leicester Botanic Garden

Liverpool
Ness Botanic Gardens

London
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Swansea
Botanical Gardens at Singleton Park

Please check with each institution for the current opening times.

 



 MALAWI

 
Production:

History
In 1878, tea seeds from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh were planted in Malawi. Subsequent plantings in the lowlands of Malanje and Thyolo were based on seeds from Natal in South Africa. The unpredictable weather in southern Malawi can make tea-growing difficult. In recent years, Malawian tea-growers have partially overcome growing difficulties through fresh plantings of clonal varieties better suited to the climate.

Locations
Landlocked Malawi sits astride a plateau bordering Lake Malawi. Tea-growing is mainly in the far south around Thyolo and Mulanje in the Shire Highlands.

The main picking season is from October to April, which occurs during the Malawian summer. So long as there is plentiful rain, the tea bushes will flush well throughout the season. 

Auctions are held once a week in Blantyre during the season, and only once a fortnight out of season. Much of the country's tea is sold privately.

Tea types
Tea from Malawi gives a coloury, reddish liquor. Much of it is produced by the Laurie Tea Processing method (the Laurie Tea Processor was a former tobacco-processing machine adapted for the tea trade). Clonal varieties are useful for teabag blends, to which they provide colour and the seedling types are basic blending types. 

Tea Fact File

Tea Types

Black

Tea Production

41.60m kilos

Production Market Share

1.11%

World Production ranking

12

Tea Exports

40.10m kilos

Export Market Share

2.43%

World Export Ranking

9

Percentage Exported

96%

Tea first grown

1878

 

Culture:
With sugar and bread
Tea-drinking is popular in Malawi. The Malawians drink it black and sweetened with sugar to improve the taste of the bread they habitually dunk in it. There's also a large Asian population who take tea the Indian way: water, tea bags, milk, and sugar all brewed together in the pot.


BRAZIL

Production:
History
The nineteenth-century wave of Brazilian tea production relied on slave labour to make it pay. When slavery was abolished, the industry declined. In the early part of the twentieth century, the Brazilian tea industry began afresh, untainted by the past. The modern industry stems from the efforts of a Japanese immigrant who reintroduced tea seeds in the 1920s.

Locations
The only tea-producing region in Brazil is at Registro, a few hours drive to the south-west of Sao Paulo. Harvesting is entirely mechanised.

Tea types
The tea produced at Registro is bright and golden-coloured. It has excellent blending properties.

Tea Numbers

Tea Types

Black

Tea first grown

1812

 


 MALAYSIA

Culture:
Thick and sweet
Malaysian tea is brewed longer than most teas to give a stronger taste. It's often drunk with thick, condensed milk - but always with plenty of sugar. If your host likes you, he or she will give you extra sugar to prove it!

Iced tea is also popular. A glass of hot, strong tea containing generous amounts of condensed milk is topped with crushed ice. This is served with a straw, along with a long spoon for stirring the mixture.

A popular breakfast time favourite is tea terbang or 'flying tea', which is normally served at a kedai kopi (coffee shop). The starting point is a jug of hot, strong tea with condensed milk. This is poured back and forth, from jug to jug, as high as the pourer's arm can reach, until the tea has a developed a wonderful, frothy head.
 



RUSSIA
 
Culture:

The samovar
The Russians were early converts to tea. It came to them overland by camel. Nowadays they drink it all day long - hot, strong, black, and with honey, sugar, or jam. The Russian desire for tea at any time of the day is satisfied by the samovar, a continuous source of hot tea. A samovar is a metal urn containing water, topped by a cradle that holds a teapot, and is heated by a charcoal burning pipe.

The tea in the teapot is extremely strong. A little is poured out at a time and diluted with hot water supplied by a tap in the urn. The dispensing of tea from a samovar is part of the Russian culture. They can be found in homes, offices, and restaurants, as well as on street corners and on board trains.

The first imported samovars were plain. When the Russians started making their own in Tula in 1820, they began to decorate them. Their centrality to Russian life was reflected in fantastically ornate designs.

Modern samovars are heated electrically.

 

 SOUTH AFRICA

Production:
History
Tea was first grown in Durban Botanical Gardens in 1850, using plants imported from London's Kew Gardens. Commercial production began 27 years later using seeds from Assam. Production in Natal grew, then faltered by the middle of the twentieth century, and was revived during the 1960s. When apartheid ended, South African tea became available to the world market. Twinings was one of the first companies to buy tea from the new multiracial South Africa, and to spot the potential of its teas.

Locations
South Africa's tea-growing region maps out a crescent-shaped curve down the eastern side of the country. It roughly follows the line of the Drakensberg mountains from Venda in the north, through Natal, and down to Transkei.

Harvesting takes place between October and April, before the winter chill sets in.

All South African tea is sold privately.

Tea types
South Africa has not been exporting for long. During the days of apartheid, all tea was produced for home consumption. Although the South Africans love their own tea, drinking approximately ten billion cups a year, it has often proved less suitable for export markets. International buyers mainly go to South Africa for its bright tea, which is suitable for tea bags varieties. But there is plenty of scope within this 'rising star' of tea-growing nations to introduce further varieties with an international appeal.

Tea Fact File

Tea types

Black

Tea first grown

1877



TAIWAN

Production:
History
Immigrants from the Chinese province of Fujian first introduced tea-production to Taiwan. The growing methods they had learnt on the Chinese mainland stood them in good stead. They found the climate and terrain of Taiwan perfect for the growing of tea bushes.

For a time, black teas were also produced on Taiwan, but the bulk of current tea-production is oolong. Black and green teas are still produced but the bulk is an amazing variety of oolong teas.

Locations
Most tea is grown in the north of the island, around Taipei. The estates in this area are all below 350 metres.

Taiwanese tea bushes produce five flushes in a year. Tea pickers work from April through to December, with the best quality teas being produced in the period from May to August.

Tea is also grown, but to a lesser extent to the west of the central highlands To. Within this region, on the slopes of Mt Yu Shan, is where the best of the Taiwanese tea grows. This is manufactured into the famous Tung Ting oolong tea.

Tea types
Taiwan's speciality teas fetch a high price on the international market. The oolongs are the most sought after by Japanese, American, and Moroccan buyers. The lightly-fermented Taiwanese pouchongs are used to make Jasmine-scented teas.

Tea Fact File

Tea types

Oolong, black and green

Tea first grown

1850s

 



TANZANIA

Production:

History
German settlers planted tea in Tanzania in 1905, although commercial production did not begin until 1926.

Before independence in 1961, production was mainly in the hands of large-scale growers. Since then, the balance has shifted in favour of independent smallholders. The Tanzanian Tea Authority was set up to buy tea from the independent growers who now account for a significant proportion of the annual tea production.

A lack of infrastructure and unpredictable rainfall has traditionally hampered the Tanzanian tea industry. In recent years, increased investment has been reflected in rising output.

Locations
There are two main growing areas. In the north, the region around Usambara in the Masai Steppe rises up towards Kilimanjaro. In the south, the region around Njombe and Mufindi, rises up to the mountains that border the Great Rift Valley and Lake Malawi.

Tea types
Str
ong and fruity flavours characterise Tanzanian teas, which are produced by the CTC (Cut, Tear, and Curl) method.

Tea Fact File

Tea Types

Black

Tea Production

31.60m kilos

Production Market Share

8.43%

World Production ranking

13

Tea Exports

24.80m kilos

Export Market Share

1.51%

World Export Ranking

10

Percentage Exported

78.48%

Tea first grown

1905



TIBET

Production:
With butter and salt
The traditional way of preparing tea in the mountains of Tibet is to churn it. Green brick tea is ground, boiled in water and strained. This strained infusion is then churned with yak's milk, butter, and salt.

Tea-churning is a daily ritual. When prepared, the tea is transferred to a kettle to be kept warm over the fire.


USA

Culture:
Iced tea
For generations of Americans, tea has had a faintly unpatriotic association. Its connections with the War of Independence were severed with the invention of iced tea at the 1904 St Louis World Fair.

Richard Blechynden, an expatriate Englishman, ran a hot tea stall at the Fair. The weather was hot, so any potential customers were really only interested in cold drinks. In light of this, Richard spotted an opportunity to serve his tea with a few ice cubes, which turned out to be an instant success.

Nowadays, more than 80% of the tea consumed in the US is iced tea. It's usually served in a tall glass with ice cubes, a slice of lemon on the rim, and a long spoon for stirring in sugar or honey.

Teas produced in Argentina are perfect for creating iced tea as they remain clear when they come into contact with ice.

Sun tea
Sun tea is a late twentieth-century development of iced tea. The idea originated in the southern states where there is always plenty of sunshine. This is made using cold water and teabags, which are placed in a glass-capped pitcher. This is left to infuse in direct sunlight for a couple of hours. This is then served like iced tea.

Inventors have even developed a solar-powered motorised stirrer for the ultimate in laid-back iced tea making.


ZIMBABWE

Production:

History
The first Zimbabwean tea plantation was known as New Year's Gift. Tea-growing didn't really take off in Zimbabwe till the 1960s. Since then, production has increased steadily - although buyers tend to feel that the country may well have passed its peak.

Tea production has largely been unaffected by the current turmoil in the Zimbabwean farming industry. However, there is a shortage of skilled labour which is forcing many growers to look at mechanical harvesting methods.

Locations
The two main tea-growing regions in the east of Zimbabwe, are the Honde Valley and Chipinge which is situated in the south east. Winters are too cold for tea bushes to grow throughout the year, and therefore are pruned back to await the first flushing in the following spring.

Zimbabwean tea estates tend to be large and mechanised. Most tea is sold privately, and reaches the international market via the South African port of Durban.

Tea types
Zimbabwe produces youthful blending teas that give a full flavoured brew. They are rarely used in their own right: the majority is sold for the UK tea-bag market.

Tea Fact File

Tea Types

Black

Tea Production

9.30m kilos

Tea Exports

5.50m kilos

Tea first grown

commercially from 1920s

 

©Copyright 2009-10, Global Tea Brokers, Site Best Viewed in MS Internet Explorer 5.5 and Above With 1024 x 768 Screen Resolutions.
International Tea Consultant & Auctioneer, Coonoor, Coimbatore, Cochin, India. Global Tea Brokers is an experienced more then a decade old, professionally managed, International 'Tea Consultant' & Registered 'Tea Auction' Broking Company by 'Tea Board of India' based in Southern India towns of Coonoor (TN), Coimbatore (TN) and Cochin (Kerala). International Tea Consultants, Authorised Auctioneers, Tea Consultants, Consultant, green tea, black tea, indian chai, Global, Global Tea Brokers, Broker, Brokers, Tea Brokers, Auction, Tea Auction, Tea Auctioneers, auctions, market, sale, teaauction, teabrokers, teamarket, teauction, tee, trader, trading, Teaauctioneers, Auctioneer, auctions, Tea, tee, CTC, Black, orthodox, Leaf, Dust, Brokens, Fannings, grades, bulk, packing, bulk packing, Auction Center, Auction Centers, Assam, Darjeeling, Calcutta, Nilgiri, Coonoor, Coimbatore, TN , Cochin , Kerala , Coonoor Tea, Coimbatore Tea, Cochin Tea, Tamilnadu Tea, India, International, Tea Board, UPASI, Registered, Tea Trade Association, Member, JT,