The history of tea growing in China stretches back almost 5000 years to 2737 BC when it was discovered by the legendary herbalist Shen Nong and found to offer many health benefits. Today, tea is grown in 18 provinces across the southern part of the country, and the individual regions and villages produce teas that are unique to that particular location. They vary according to the traditional style of manufacture but also because of what we call ‘terroir’, the tea’s ‘sense of place’.
The altitude, the lie of the land, the climate and weather patterns, the soil, and the care with which the plants are cultivated and plucked all add to the individuality of a particular tea.
Some of China’s best teas grow on the steep terraced slopes of high mountains where swirling clouds and mist protect the tea bushes from the glaring sun and bring moisture to feed the plants.
Others are cultivated on high plateaus, or on rugged flatter land surrounded by pine trees or ancient forests. Everywhere there is an abundance of streams and waterfalls, rivers and lakes that water the land and create the humidity that suits the tea plants so well.