It is believed that tea was first – accidentally - discovered in China in 2737 BC by Shen Nong when some leaves from a wild tea plant fell into water that was being boiled for drinking. Reportedly, the ritual of drinking tea in Japan was introduced in 1191 by Buddhist monks who came from China. Tea reached Europe in 1609 and America in the mid-1770's. Today, tea is the second most popular drink following water and the demand for tea is very high. There are about 30 countries growing tea but India, China and Kenya account for about 71.4% of the total world production of tea.

In its wild state the tea plant (Camellia sinensis) can grow as tall as 30 feet but when it is grown for its tea leaves, it is pruned into a shrub or bush (about 4-6 feet tall) to allow the picker to reach every branch. Only the top (about 1-2 inches) of the plant is picked for tea and new tops grow every 7-10 days in a growing season. Depending on where the tea is grown, sometimes the tops can be harvested thrice in a season. In areas where there is no cold season, the plants can "flush" or grow new leaves and be harvested year-round. The different kinds of tea are determined by the variety (about 3,000 all over the world) of the plant, where they are grown (soils and climate) and the processing that is done after the leaves are picked.

In monocultures, there are about 1031 species of arthropods that can cause yield losses to tea plants by feeding on either leaves, stems, roots, flowers or seeds. Broad spectrum pesticides used to be the only method for controlling insect pests and diseases in tea. However, market demand for clean, safe and healthy products has called attention to the need to employ ecologically-based strategies to manage pests and diseases in tea production. The IPM-based strategies are aimed at maintaining pest populations at low levels to avoid significant damage and modifying practices as to enable the crop to escape pest invasion. These include the use of resistant and tolerant varieties, cultural practices and biological alternatives.

More information about Tea IPM can be found in: http://www.communityipm.org/docs/Tea_Eco-Guide/Tea_Eco-Guide.html

Click the list below for more crop specific information

  1. General Information: Origin, distribution etc.

  2. Production / Productivity
  3. Tea pests / diseases
  4. Post Harvest: