Plantations are among the loveliest scenes of nature found on Earth. Vast expanses of green bushes, very often shrouded in a light mist and surrounded by stunning nature, these are certainly landscapes worth visiting if you have the chance. Tea plantations can be both large and small, at very low or very high altitudes, wild or well manicured, and on virtually all the continents of the world.
Where are tea plantations found?
Tea plantations are most widely distributed in China, India, Japan, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and many other Asian and African countries. Climate is very important for growing tea, particularly the alternation of sunny and rainy periods. Mineral-rich soil is one of the factors that influences the successful growing of tea. The Japanese call their plantations farms, the Chinese use both terms, plantation and farms, while in India and Vietnam, they are most often called tea estates or tea gardens. In virtually all countries that produce tea in large quantities, the majority of product is consumed by the domestic population, with only a small share intended for export.
In India's Assam province, there are some 800 tea estates and 2500 small tea gardens.
Some of the world's highest quality and most expensive teas come from Taiwan, and are grown at high altitudes – over 1000 metres. The higher the elevation, the more precious the tea, due to the very small quantities produced and often the very inaccessible terrain where it is grown. European tea plantations in Germany and Scotland are also found in mountainous areas, which are ideal for the growth of tea.
Certain types of the Da Yu Ling tea from Taiwan are grown at elevations of 2600 metres.
Most popular areas
Some of the most popular and largest tea growing areas are the Indian province Assam and the city of Darjeeling, the Chinese provinces Zhejiang, Guangdong, Fujian and Yunnan, the Taiwanese mountains Ali and Li, and the Japanese prefectures Kagoshima, Kyoto, Shizuoka and Mie. Many of the best known teas are grown in these areas, though the number of areas where tea is grown is very large.
In India, tea is so important that Assam has its own time zone, called the Tea Garden Zone.
Teas are not grown only in plantations, but are also grown on wild trees that grow freely in uncontrolled conditions. The Vietnamese province Yen Bai and the Chinese province Yunnan are specially known as rare areas where wild tea trees can still be found.