For today's Sunday Top 5 post, I'm focusing on the top tea-producing regions, but I am not ranking the regions by volume, but rather, by the number of teas listed on RateTea. If you are interested in the volume of bulk production, you can visit the Production section of Wikipedia's article on tea, which has a very interesting table of this ranking. The top 5 countries of this ranking are, in most common order, China, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and Turkey, although the order changes subtly from year to year. The ranking of teas on RateTea shares only three of these countries in common, and the ordering is different:
Counting the number of teas on RateTea is by no means scientific, as there are a lot of arbitrary factors that have gone into influencing which teas have gotten listed, but I do think that this listing is actually a very good coarse indicator of which countries are more important or influential in the Western market for specialty teas, specifically, single-region teas, as blended teas will not be counted in this list.
After this top five, the count falls off precipitously. Kenya comes in with 39 and Nepal with 29, and there are no other countries with more than a handful of teas. Of the well-over 5000 teas listed, the overwhelming majority (1424) are still blends or teas of unlisted origin (1016) which are probably mostly blends.
Some thoughts on this list:
I find several things interesting about this list. For one, even though China and India are roughly equal in terms of volume of tea production, China almost doubles India in terms of representation among single-region teas. Another interesting factor is the absence of countries such as Turkey, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Indonesia in this list...all of which produce substantially more tea than Japan. Taiwan isn't even in the top-10 of producers by volume, but it muscles its way onto the top 5 list as a clear leader among single-region specialty teas. Taiwan and Japan clearly focus on the specialty market.
Do you have any interesting observations about this list? Do you think it's a good coarse indicator of these countries representation in the Western market for single-region teas? Are there any factors here that I may have overlooked?