There have been attempts in every continent, Asia, Africa and America, to grow tea. As the leading drink in the world after water with 15,000 cups drank every second, tea offers comfort and well-being on a daily basis. It was therefore logical for everyone to ensure a supply and yet Camellia Sinensis, the official name of the tea plant, is not that easy to grow.
Although growing wild in the mountainous regions of South Yunnan in China, Western Burma, Assam and Thailand, the optimum conditions to ensure that tea bushes flourish do not prevail in every country. Weather conditions and the type of earth determine tea’s flavour and qualities.
To ensure exceptional tea the plant must grow in deep, friable and slightly acidic earth with a high humus content. Tea bushes prefer altitude and can flourish in altitudes of up to 2500 metres. Tea bushes love heat and the rains of summer and autumn falling on well drained earth but are particularly vulnerable to wind. Wrapped up in the morning mountain mists Camellia grow gently. The tree can be up to 15 metres tall and is often pruned back to human height as a “harvesting table” to enable easier exploitation. The gardens – the name given to tea plantations – are productive for nearly fifty years.
Four countries on their own account for nearly two thirds of world output. China, India, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Kenya form the core of world tea output. Pagès experts travel the world over to help you discover these magnificent ‘gardens’.
Each has its own properties and offers specific, invigorating, stimulating, relaxing or calming benefits throughout the day.
Tea has its delicate, suave and always subtle scents.
Worldwide tea output amounted to 3.15 million tonnes in 2003, 75000 tonnes more than in 2002 thanks to favourable weather conditions.
Other tea producing countries: Japan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Turkey, Iran, Argentina, Malawi, Taiwan, Georgia and Mozambique. Another noteworthy point is the increase in organic tea crops in India which rose by a further 3500 tonnes in 2003 and were exported primarily to France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the USA.