Can’t get enough of cups of tea? From green to black, oolong to white, and plenty more, people have been brewing tea for hundreds of years. The major tea regions of Asia produce most of the tea in the world. Asia in particular has a rich history of tea growing and in fact, tea even originates from China! According to legend, in 2737 BC, the Chinese emperor Shen Nung was sitting beneath a tree while his servant boiled drinking water, when some leaves from the tree blew into the water. Shen Nung, a renowned herbalist, decided to try the infusion that his servant had accidentally created.
The four biggest tea-producing countries today are China, India, Sri Lanka and Kenya. Here’s what you need to know about different tea regions across Asia, and what type of of tea you can enjoy in each country…
Tea Regions of Asia
Indian tea differs greatly from one tea to the other. This is primarily due to climate and local conditions which vary from one region to another, from mountainous regions to plains.
Some of the most famous teas include; Darjeeling, Assam, Nilgiri, Dooars, Kangra and Terai.
Tea is cultivated extensively in the northern region of the country, making Vietnam one of the world’s largest exporters. The most common tea is green tea; there are also many variants of black tea which is scented with Jasminum sambac blossoms.
In Vietnamese restaurants, a complimentary pot of tea is usually served once the meal has been ordered, with refills free of charge!
Sumatra and Java have been producing tea since the beginning of the 19th century, using plants from Assam. Indonesia produces mostly black tea, although it also grows a small amount of green tea.
Indonesia is the fifth largest producer in the world and its teas are full-bodied and fairly suited to the addition of milk.
The province of Uji is famous for producing the best green teas in Japan; this has been a tradition since 1202. Tea ceremonies are an important part of Japanese culture, it is a ritual within their culture that relates to Buddhism and in particular to the Zen philosophy.
Some of the most famous teas include; Gyokuro, Sencha, Tamaryokucha, and Bancha
Nepal mostly produces black tea. The land is comparable to that of Darjeeling with similar characteristics such as distinct floral and fruity notes.
Nepal has now made a name for itself among tea aficionados thanks to the work of bold and curious plantation managers. Nepal now boasts more than 85 plantations and tea provides a livelihood for about 7,500 small-scale farmers who sell their leaves to the factories.
Malaysia is a small producer and its teas are black and not very full-bodied. Teh tarik or pulled tea is the most favoruite, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk is poured into a flavoursome black tea before pouring the contents from one cup to another. Pouring creates a creamy foam and helps cool the liquid. And the thicker the froth, the better the taste.
Almost every restaurant and coffee in Malaysia serves teh tarik.
Bangladesh has a long history of producing black tea. But in recent decades they have started producing green and oolong tea.
Close to Assam, Bangladeshi tea grows in the north of the country, close to the border with India. Highly coloured and aromatic, it pairs well with a splash of milk. The three leading brands of Malaysian tea include BOH, Cameron Valley, and Sabah Tea.