Tea plays an integral role in Japanese culture. Japan is in the top 10 tea-producing countries in the world but exports less than 2% of its production. In Japan, most tea grown and consumed is green tea. The majority of Japanese green teas are steamed, rather than pan-fired in the style of most green teas from China. Three of the four major islands of Japan, Honshū, Shikoku, and Kyūshū, produce tea. The three largest tea-producing prefectures in Japan are Shizuoka, Kagoshima, and Mie.
Shizuoka is famous for green tea. It is the largest tea producing region in Japan, with nearly half of all Japan’s green tea produced there. Shizuoka is the leading producer of Sen Cha and Sen Cha Fukamushi (deep steam treated green tea).
Kagoshima is the second largest tea producing region of Japan.
Mie is the third largest tea region of Japan, famous as Sen Cha and Kabuse Cha.
Uji in the Kyoto prefecture is known for luxury tea production, mainly producing shade-grown teas such as Gyokuro and Matcha.
Nishio in the Aichi prefecture is one of the major Matcha production areas of Japan.
Tea originates from China, which is the largest producer of green tea and oolong tea in the world.
Anhui is located in the eastern portion of inland China, bordered by Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, and Hubei. Anhui has both flat and mountainous regions and its climate is more variable than coastal provinces. Most of the tea in Anhui is produced in the south, as the northernmost region of Anhui is unsuitable for growing tea. Anhui is famous for producing Keemun black tea, Huangshan Mao Feng, Tai Ping Hou Kui, Lu an Gua Pian, and Chun Mee tea.
Fujian is located on the southeast coast of China, and has a subtropical climate, with year-round rainfall. The majority of the province is mountainous and heavily covered in forest. Two areas of Fujian are famous for oolongs: Anxi in southern Fujian is the origin of tie guan yin, and Wuyi in the north is the origin of Da Hong Pao and many others.
Guangdong is located on the southern coast of China and is the most economically prosperous and most populated province. Guangdong is home to the phoenix mountains, best known as the origin of feng huang dancong oolongs. Guangdong is very humid year-round and ranges from subtropical at higher elevations to almost tropical near the ocean. Precipitation is seasonal, following the pattern of the Asian monsoon.
Hubei is north of Dongting lake in Hunan province, just south of the border of Hunan and Hubei provinces. Hubei is a landlocked province in central China. Hubei is subtropical with well-defined seasons. It is very humid, and rainfall follows a strong seasonal pattern like most of China, with the heaviest rainfall from May through July. Hubei borders Anhui to the east, and also produces Keemun, a style of black tea that originated and is primarily produced in Anhui. Hubei also produces a number of green tea varieties.
Hunan is south of Dongting lake and is a landlocked province in China, located towards the southeast. Hunan has a humid subtropical climate, and borders other tea-producing provinces, including Guangxi to the southwest and Jiangxi to the east, and Hubei to the north. The most famous tea that originates from Hunan province is Junshan Yinzhen, a type of yellow tea, which originates from Junshan island located in the middle of Dongting lake.
Yunnan is located in the south-western most province of China and is best known for Puerh tea. Yunnan’s mountainous topography provides a typically mild climate with heavy seasonal rainfall, experiencing wet summers and dry winters. Yunnan also produces black teas (such as Dian Hong) and is home to a large number of ancient tea trees, some in excess of 1000 years old.
Zhejiang Province is located on the east coast of China, just north of Fujian. It has a humid subtropical climate with distinct seasons and a high seasonal rainfall. Many important green teas originate from Zhejiang including dragon well (Long Jing) and gunpowder green tea.
The majority of tea produced in Taiwan is Oolong tea and most of this tea is consumed within Taiwan.
The climate in Taiwan is varied, ranging from humid subtropical conditions to cool high mountain conditions. Located over the Tropic of Cancer, Taiwan has distinct seasons with cooler, dryer winters and hotter, wet summers (with exception to higher winter rainfall experienced in some high elevation tea growing regions).
Ali Shan is in Jiayi County, with elevation ranging between 950 -1400 meters. The region's Qingxin Oolong is known for flavours are typically sweet, mellow, floral, the liquor bright yellowy green.
Li Shan (Pear Mountain) is part of the Jade mountain range located in Taichung County. Li Shan is the highest tea-growing region in Taiwan, with tea plantations located between 1800 meters and 2650 meters. These high altitudes provide a low temperature year-round but produce only two tea harvests per year.
Wu Ling is also located in Taichung county on Pear Mountain, producing high mountain (1800 - 2000 meters) character. The average annual temperature is around 20 degrees Celsius with clouds and fog present year-round. Wu Ling offers 3 harvests per year.
Shan Ling is located in Nantou County, with elevations ranging from 1600-1900 meters. This high elevation provides cool growing conditions that produce smooth and floral teas with a slight buttery quality.
Lugu is in the southwest of Nantou County and is famous for the production of Dong Ding Oolong. Dongding Oolong (Frozen Summit) is named after Dongding Village, home of the original Oolong planted in 1855 by Lin Feng Chi who sourced them from the Wuyi Mountains of China.
Pinglin is the northern most tea producing region of Taiwan. With lower altitude mountains, Pinglin is best known for the production of Baozhong Oolong tea, which offers rich, buttery favours.
Miaoli is located in the north, where the warm climate and lower elevation (600 meters) offer perfect growing conditions for the production of Bai Hao Oolong (also known as Oriental Beauty), which is a more heavily oxidised variety intentionally eaten by a tea insect to produce a tea with sweet honey like flavours.
Sun Moon Lake is located in Nantou County and is a region famous for the production of black tea. In a bid to compete with the market dominance of Indian black teas, Taiwanese black tea was produced from tea plants sourced from Assam, India. The cost of producing black tea in Taiwan is too high to compete on the world market, yet a small amount of very good quality black tea is still produced for primarily local consumption.
Da Yu Ling is in Acacia Hill area, located in at the intersection of the Nantou, Taichung and Hualien counties . With a typical elevation of 2100 meters, it is the highest of Taiwan’s Oolong tea producing areas. The Da Yu ling offers low temperature and high mountain character with one harvest annually.
Ruhuna is located in Sri Lanka’s Southern Province and enjoys abundant rainfall and a warm climate. The teas grown in this region are typically low to mid grown, the high rate of photosynthesis creates leaves that are especially suited to rolling. Teas from this range tend to be rich and strong.
Dimbula is located to the west of the central mountains with an elevation of approximately 5000 to 6000 ft above sea level. Teas from Dimbula typically possess good body and full slightly malty flavours. Peak flavour is achieved during the dry season from January till around March or April, before the onset of the monsoon rains.
Uva is located to the southeast of the central mountains. Uva’s quality season is between July to September, when the unique climate of Uva (specifically the dry prevailing winds) lends to a unique fruity character in the flavour of the tea.
Uda Pussellawa has only one monsoon, and therefore is one of the more challenging areas in Sri Lanka for growing tea. This dry climate, which stresses the leaf to yield its best flavour, is what creates the defining characteristics of Uda Pussellawa tea. The region has two quality seasons, one from January to March and the other from July to September. The best conditions for leaf growth is from March to April, where sunny mornings are followed by afternoon/evening showers.
Nuwara Eliya is a located in the Central Province Sri Lanka, just south of Kandy. Nuwara Eliya boasts the highest altitude of all tea-growing regions in Sri Lanka, with an elevation of approximately 6000 ft above sea level, providing for a year round cool climate. The elevation and climate causes the tea bush to grow more slowly with small leaves that take on an orange hue after withering. When infused, the tea takes on a greenish yellow tinge, which is the palest among all regional Ceylon tea, producing a high-grown champagne like character.
Sabaragamuwa is Sri Lanka’s biggest district, the teas of which are low-grown with estates ranging in elevation from sea level to 800m. Like Ruhuna, Sabaragamuwa produces a fast-growing bush with a long leaf. The liquor is similar in colour to that of Ruhuna teas, dark yellow brown with a reddish tint, but the aroma is noticeably different, being slightly milder with a hint of caramel.