Although the tea plant is native to East Asia, you’ll now find it growing as south as Argentina, and as far north as the Scottish Highlands! Origins are a useful way to separate teas because the growing environment can affect the flavour just as much as processing. Sunlight, rainfall, soil, altitude, even the surrounding flora and fauna might be detectable in your favourite cuppa.
Origins can refer to anything as broad as a country, or as specific as a single tea garden. You’ve probably heard of famous tea origins like Darjeeling or ‘Ceylon’ (now Sri Lanka). Certain locations are known for producing certain recognisable characteristics in their brews. For example, Sri Lankan teas are refreshing, Darjeelings are floral, Assams are malty, and so on.
Some origins specialise in certain tea categories and processing techniques. However, not all origins can produce all categories of tea! Did you know that China is the only country in the whole world that can produce all six categories? (Yellow and pu’erh are the exclusive ones, in case you were wondering!)