China: The Birthplace of Tea

China is without doubt the birthplace of tea, having been discovered there some 5000 years ago. With its vast landscape and diverse topography, it is the world leader in tea production and accounts for over 18% of the world’s tea exports. Tea is grown throughout China’s southern provinces. There are 17 main tea growing regions Anhui, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi Zhuang, Guizhou, Hainan, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Shandong, Szechwan, Yunnan, and Zhejiang.  

The best time to visit China’s tea growing regions is in the Spring (April is good when the weather is a little warmer) and early summer.
Tea growing regions in China
Map of the major tea growing regions of China
The majority of the teas grown in China are green, but some provinces also produce yellow (Zhejiang, Sichuan, Anhui, Hunan, Guangdong), black (Hunan, Yunnan, Anhui, Fujian), white (Fujian, Yunnan), Oolongs (Fujian, Yunnan), Jasmine greens (Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Guangxi, Zhejiang), and Pu-erh tea which comes exclusively from Yunnan province. 
House in village in Chinese tea plantation

Handmade vs. Mechanised Tea Production

Although modern, mechanised factories have led to large-scale tea production in China, tea is still made by hand in many places. Each village or region has its own particular method of processing the tea, which contributes to the unique flavours and qualities of single estate teas. Some tea producers choose to use traditional, handmade methods to produce their teas, which can result in a higher quality product.

The Importance of Tea Mountains

The Chinese always say that the best teas come from high mountains. The country’s tea mountains are treated with great reverence and respect, not just as places of great beauty and interest but also for their importance to the country’s economy. Some varietals of China’s teas are produced in such limited quantities that they are never exported.
Chinese lady pouring tea into a teacup
China's long history of tea production and the country's diverse topography have led to the production of a wide variety of teas. Single estate teas, which are produced in limited quantities and often using traditional, handmade methods, are highly sought after by tea enthusiasts. China's tea mountains are treated with great respect and are an important part of the country's economy. At Tea by Birdy, we offer a selection of high-quality single estate teas from China and other regions. Explore our collection and discover the unique flavours and qualities of these exceptional teas.
China the birthplace of tea
Tea plantation in China