Tea lovers may want to incorporate a trip to a tea plantation on their travels. If you are that mad about a good brew of tea, you could choose a destination based on its tea growing potential. Tea bushes need to be grown in the right locations that have a specific climate and geography.
Where each brew is made can have a huge impact on its distinctive taste. Some of the basic requirements for growing tea include somewhere without big freezes or long winters, a tropical but preferably subtropical climates and some seasonality.
The rainfall and humidity can influence the flavour and quality of the tea, as well as when the leaves are harvested. We have hand-picked some of the top tea drinking and producing countries around the world. Find out where to go and which plantations to visit. Here are five of the best tea growing locations.
Kenya is the third largest tea producer in the world. If you are looking for things to do in Kenya, then plan a visit to one of the many tea plantations. Just northwest of Nairobi is the rustic farming town of Limuru. It sits in the Great Rift Valley, which has the ideal climate and conditions for growing tea bushes.
This region experiences lots of rainfall, the climate is ideal and there’s an elevation of 7,000 feet. Spend some time visiting Limuru Tea Plantation, which was built in the early 1900s, or you can go and see the first tea bushes planted by the Caine brothers during early settlement. You can often enjoy a nice picnic and enjoy the scenery and of course, try some tea!
Although just a small area of Argentina is suitable for growing tea, it’s still an important tea production country. The majority of the tea produced here is grown in the north east of the country.
The majority is grown in Misiones and Corrientes because they have exactly the right kind of warm subtropical climate with lots of rainfall. A lot of the tea here is mass produced and mild in flavour. The clear brews here are apparently ideal for being used to make iced tea.
The tea production industry here contributes an important regional agribusiness, and Argentina is one of the top 10 tea producing countries in the world. However, around 92% of the tea made here is for foreign markets. You will find mainly black tea here with 90% orthodox and only 2% green tea.
Argentina is best known for the cultivation of Mate tea, which is served in traditional gourd cups in Argentina. It’s a herbal brew that is also popular in Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil. It’s said to contain medicinal properties and contains a lot of caffeine. Head to Patagonia in Southern Argentina and visit the town of Gaiman where you can try the tea with cakes and pastries.
Drinking tea is a popular pastime all over China, but there are some areas that are particularly tea orientated. There are places that have a strong tea drinking culture, and also places that are well-known for tea growing.
A lot of China’s tea growing areas are mountainous and offer picturesque and tranquil scenery, so even if you're not a massive tea fan, they are still worth a visit. Huangshan in the Anhui Province in Central East China is famous for its green, black and flower teas and alternative varieties such as Yellow Mountain Furry Tip, Keemun Black and Yellow Mountain Tribute are grown here.
If you want to experience China’s tea culture at its best, Huangshan is the place to go. Other key tea making and drinking destinations in China include Suzhou, Quanzhou, Xishuangbanna, Wuhan and Chengdu.
Quite a lot of tea experts feel that China’s best tea is the West Lake Dragon Well tea, which is grown in West Lake, southwest of Hangzhou City. Hangzhou Tea Museum, China’s only Chinese tea history museum is also worth a visit.
Book some flights to Johannesburg and visit a tea plantation where you can try the tea that South Africa is best known for, Rooibos. It’s a light tea that’s red in colour, which is normally consumed without milk. A great place to try Rooibos and see how this tea is made is Klipp Mekaar, an organic, ethical tea farm located high in the northern Cederberg mountain range. This is one of the biggest organic Rooibos farms in the world.
India is another of the world’s largest tea growing countries, but interestingly, over 70% of the tea that’s made is consumed by Indian people. The British had a big influence on the tea culture in India during their rule, they cultivated large areas of land just for tea production.
One of the best places to go in India for tea is Darjeeling, which is encased in tea plantations. Darjeeling tea is often called the champagne of teas because it has a musky sweet flavour as well as floral notes and fruity citrus notes. About 25% of the total tea output in India is from Darjeeling. Make sure you plan a visit to the Happy Valley Tea Estate which grows some of the most fragrant Darjeeling around.
Another popular tea is Assam, it’s a black tea with a strong malty flavour. You can find plantations growing Assam in the north east of India. Tea fans won’t want to miss the tea festival that’s held in Jorhat in November every year.
For stunning views overlooking miles of bright green fields of tea plantations, make your way to Munnar. If you are nuts about tea, then pay a visit to India’s first Tea Museum at Nallathanni Estate.
Goa is also another popular tea tasting location. Book flights and go tea tasting in Goa at the Spice Plantation, where you can try the tea and go on a guided tour.