The Top Six Tea-Producing Countries

Tea Production. Tea in Fields

World tea production is estimated to be around 5.5 million metric tons per year.

Tea is an increasingly popular drink in the USA and Canada, although there is an awful lot more tea to be drunk to catch up with the UK.

In the USA:

  • About 80% of households in the US enjoy tea.
  • On average, each person consumes around 0.5 pounds (0.23 kg) of tea per year.
  • Considering the average household size of 2.53 people, this amounts to roughly 1.3 pounds (0.6 kg) of tea per household annually.

In Canada:

  • Tea is a favorite in about 85% of Canadian households.
  • The average person sips over 2 pounds (0.9 kg) of tea each year.
  • With an average household size of 2.9 people, this adds up to approximately 5.8 pounds (2.6 kg) of tea per Canadian household annually.

In the UK:

  • Tea is a near-universal choice in almost 100% of UK households.
  • On average, each person enjoys around 4.3 pounds (1.95 kg) of tea each year.
  • Considering the average household size of 2.4 people, this results in approximately 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of tea consumed per UK household per year.
Tea Drinking

Where does the tea come from?

Here is an overview of the top six tea-producing countries in the world:

1. China

China is by far the largest producer of tea in the world. The tea plant, Camellia sinensis, originated in China and has been cultivated there for thousands of years. China produces over 2.4 million metric tons of tea annually, representing about 30–35% of the world’s total tea output. Famous Chinese teas include green teas like Longjing and Biluochun, as well as black teas like Keemun and Yunnan.

The major tea-producing regions are located in coastal provinces like Fujian, Zhejiang, Sichuan, and Yunnan. Tea production and tea drinking are ingrained in Chinese culture.

  • China produces 30–35% of the world’s tea, around 2.4 million metric tons annually
  • Tea originated in China many thousands of years ago
  • Major tea regions are located in coastal provinces like Fujian and Yunnan
  • Famous teas include Longjing, Biluochun, Keemun, and Yunnan
  • Tea drinking is deeply ingrained in Chinese culture
  • China has the longest history of tea production in the world

Learn more about Chinese tea here

2. India

India is the second-largest producer of tea in the world, with over 1.2 million metric tons produced annually. India accounts for about 25% of global tea production.

The main tea-growing regions are in the northeast of the country, including Assam and Darjeeling. Assam produces a lot of bold, malty black teas, while Darjeeling is famous for its light and aromatic teas. Other major tea regions include Nilgiri and Kangra in the south. India also consumes 80% of its tea domestically.

  • second-largest producer globally, with over 1.2 million metric tons annually
  • The main tea regions are Assam and Darjeeling in the northeast
  • The Assam region is known for bold black teas and Darjeeling for delicate aromatics
  • Other major regions include Nilgiri and Kangra in the south
  • 80% of India’s tea is consumed domestically
  • India accounts for about 25% of global tea production

Learn more about Indian tea here

3. Kenya

Kenya is the third-largest tea producer in the world, producing approximately 432,400 metric tons annually. Tea production is one of the major pillars of the economy in Kenya.

Kenyan tea is mainly sourced from large tea farms near Nairobi. These farms are located in an ideal location for tea production due to their high altitude and favorable weather conditions. Kenya is known for producing flavorful black teas like Kenyan and Masala chai. A few large companies, such as Unilever, grow about 60% of the tea in Kenya.

  • Third-largest producer with 432,400 metric tons annually
  • Tea estates located near Nairobi, prime growing area
  • Known for flavorful black teas like Kenyan and Masala chai
  • Few large companies control about 60% of production
  • Tea is a major pillar of Kenya’s economy
  • High elevation provides an excellent tea-growing climate

Learn more about Kenyan tea here

4. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka produces around 340,000 metric tons of tea per year, making it the fourth-largest tea producer in the world. Sri Lanka is known for its distinctive teas, ranging from bold black teas to delicate white teas.

Famous growing regions like Nuwara Eliya and Dimbula are located at high elevations in the central part of the island. Their misty, cool climates provide excellent tea-growing conditions. Ceylon tea is the main type that is produced in Sri Lanka

  • fourth-largest producer with 340,000 metric tons per year
  • Known for bold black teas to delicate white teas
  • Nuwara Eliya and Dimbula are famous high-elevation regions
  • Ceylon tea is the main type produced
  • A cool, misty climate ideal for tea cultivation
  • A long history of tea production on the island.

Learn more about Sri Lankan tea here

5. Turkey

Turkey has a long history of tea production and produces around 220,000 metric tons annually. Turkish tea plants are grown along the eastern Black Sea coast, which provides a humid climate. Popular teas from Turkey are Çaykur Rize tea, an oil-heavy black tea, and apple-flavored Rize tea.

Turkey consumes most of the tea it produces domestically, with about 96% of their tea consumed locally. Turkish culture has integrated tea into daily life and tea time.

  • Produces around 220,000 metric tons of tea annually
  • Tea grown along the humid, coastal Black Sea region
  • Most tea is consumed domestically, about 96%
  • Çaykur Rize black tea and apple Rize teas are popular
  • Turkish culture integrates tea heavily into daily life
  • Long historical tradition of tea in Turkey

Learn more about Turkish tea here

6. Vietnam

Vietnam has increased its tea production in recent years, now producing around 162,000 metric tons per year. Vietnamese tea is gaining popularity globally both for its quality and lower prices compared to Chinese teas.

Green and black teas are produced mainly in the northern mountain regions. Popular teas include lotus tea made from the lotus plant and Shan Tuyet tea. Vietnam exports a high percentage of its tea to other consuming countries.

  • Produces around 162,000 metric tons of tea per year
  • Green and black teas, mainly from the northern mountains
  • Gaining global popularity for quality and price
  • The major types are lotus flower tea and Shan Tuyet tea
  • Significant exporter of tea to foreign markets
  • Recently increased tea production in Vietnam

Learn more about Vietnamese tea here

Every tea-producing country has its history and traditions regarding growing and drinking tea in their cultures. The distinctive growing conditions and processing methods give the teas from each country its unique flavors and style.

Here is a list of the top twenty tea-producing companies by the metric ton:

RankCountryTea Production (metric tons)
4Sri Lanka340,000
18United States21,500