The history of tea is believed to date back to 2737 BCE, when the Chinese emperor Shen nong was drinking boiled water in his garden, and a few leaves from a nearby tree fell into his cup. Over the course of thousands of years, missionaries and traders brought tea to nations like Japan, India and Sri Lanka, and later to Europe and the Americas.
Today, tea is cultivated in a number of countries around the globe. Many of these nations have developed intricate tea ceremonies and unique traditions. Sipping tea is a wonderful way to explore and appreciate these diverse cultures, while sharpening your ability to detect subtle differences between teas produced in different regions.
Teas from China
Is it any wonder that tea is a way of life in China—the nation where the beverage is believed to have originated? Thanks to its diverse topography and distinctive tea-producing regions, teas from China cover a large spectrum of varietals.
- Golden Yunnan Black Tea: Black tea from the Yunnan province is often referred to as dianhong tea, and is known for its golden tips. This prized tea has a smooth, malty flavor and yields a vibrant golden-orange cup.
- Dragon Well Green Tea: Perhaps the most celebrated tea in all of China, Dragon Well tea (also known as lung ching or longjing) is known for its beautiful jade green coloring, gentle flavor and exceptional quality.
- Milk Oolong Tea: Fujian oolong tea is semi-oxidized and is renowned for its smooth, milky flavor and delightfully silky texture. Oolong is typically rolled into tight curls or round spheres.
- Silver Rain White Tea: Considered to be among rarest of all teas, authentic white tea is grown in the mountains of the Fujian Province and undergoes minimal processing. The silvery leaves yield a cup that is crisp, sweet and refreshing.
Teas from Japan
Japan’s tea history dates back to the 9th century, when Buddhist monks delivered tea seeds from China to Japan. Green tea is the most popular type of tea from Japan, and includes varietals such as matcha, sencha and hojicha.
- Organic Matcha Powder: Shade-grown, finely ground matcha is the star of the centuries-old Japanese tea ceremony. This beloved tea has a vibrant green color and a rich, vegetal flavor.
- Sencha Kyoto: Unlike matcha, sencha is grown in sunlight and is kept in its full-leaf form (rather than ground into a powder). The Uji region of Japan produces the finest sencha green tea, which has a clean, refreshing taste.
- Spring Cherry Green Tea: This flavorful green tea blends fine Japanese sencha with natural cherry flavors and peony flowers. The result is a cup that is sweet and floral.
- Big Green Hojicha: Hojicha is unique from other Japanese green teas because the leaves are roasted over charcoal, rather than steamed. The toasted leaves have a distinctive earthy aroma and nutty flavor.
Teas from India
The most iconic teas from India are black teas (specifically Assam and Darjeeling) and Chai, which is made from a blend of aromatic spices. Indian teas are often served with a splash of warm milk, creating a satisfying and indulgent cup.
- Darjeeling Black Tea: Known as the Champagne of teas, Darjeeling is grown on the slopes of the Himalayas. Its flavor is lighter than that of most black teas, but is highly complex and layered.
- Assam Breakfast Black Tea: Assam black tea is cultivated in the lowlands of Northern India. Plentiful golden tips on the leaves ensure a deep, robust and full-bodied flavor.
- Republic Chai Tea: Chai is a way of life in India, where chaiwalas (tea servers) can be found selling the beverage on every street corner. Our Chai combines Assam and Darjeeling black tea with rich imperial spices like cardamom, star anise and cloves.
Teas from Sri Lanka
The lush, verdant highlands of Sri Lanka—formerly known as Ceylon—are the ideal climate for cultivating high quality black teas. Ceylon black tea is considered to be among the best in the world.
- Mango Ceylon Black Tea: Fine black tea leaves are blended with real mango pieces and sunflower blossoms to create a cup that is intoxicatingly fragrant. This naturally sweet cup tastes wonderful served hot or iced.
- Ginger Peach Black Tea: Zesty ginger and sweet peach merge with Ceylon black tea leaves in this amber-hued infusion. Serve hot or over ice for a refreshing pick-me-up.
Teas from South Africa
The majority of South African tea is not “true” tea at all, as it is not made from the Camellia sinensis plant. Instead, it is a type of herbal tea made from the rooibos bush, and is commonly referred to as red tea or rooibos tea.
- Organic Double Red Rooibos Tea: Naturally caffeine-free rooibos has a smooth, slightly nutty or woody flavor, and steeps a cup with a gorgeous red coloring.
- Good Hope Vanilla Red Tea: Fragrant vanilla beans complement the flavor of fine South African rooibos in this delightful red tea blend.
- Passionfruit Mango Red Tea: This bright and fruity red tea combines rooibos with tropical mango, passionfruit and lemon flavors.
Teas from Brazil
Brazil may not be known for its production of Camellia sinensis, but it still has an established tea culture that originated with its indigenous Amazonian populations. Ingredients like yerba maté and açaí make for a delightful tea, and are important elements of Brazil’s culture.
- Maté Latte® Tea: Roasted Brazilian maté is the star of this complex brew, which also features cocoa, rooibos, almond and vanilla. The resulting flavor profile is rich and chocolatey.
- Organic Açaí Green Superfruit Tea: Deep purple açaí blends with crisp green tea and a plethora of berries and flowers in this healthful superfruit tea.
We encourage our Citizens to become acquainted with these global leaders of tea production and tea culture, and to sip their way around the world one cup at a time.