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Tea Basics

What is Tea?
Tea Plantation
What is Tea?


The journey to your cup begins in tea gardens around the world, where Tetley tea is made from the young leaves and unopened buds of the plant, Camellia sinensis. We grow and buy tea from all across the world to get that lovely, full-bodied flavour that’s unique to Tetley.

Where Does Tea come from?

Our experienced buyers work closely with thousands of tea gardens in over 25 different countries to select the very best tea leaves. For us, it is about helping to create a thriving, global tea industry that is socially fair and environmentally sustainable. That is why we are founding members of the Ethical Tea Partnership and source 100% of our tea from Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM gardens.


Tea plants flourish in warm, moist climates and can grow 20 feet high if left unchecked! However, our buyers seek the best for Tetley – tea grown in cool climates and at high altitudes, with the tea plants trimmed to only three to four feet in height and width. The main producers of tea are Sri Lanka, India, China, Japan, Indonesia, Turkey and some parts of Africa and South America.

The tea farmers we source from take great pride in picking only the best tea leaves for your brew. You can find out more about our sustainability initiatives here.

Before landing on a shelf at your local store, each Tetley blend undergoes a crucial four-stage journey from crop to cup. The key ingredients are care and attention – after all, that’s what goes into making a great quality cup of tea.

Most of our teas come from the following regions


Argentina - This hot and humid region produces mild teas with clear and bright liquors, perfect for Iced Tea!

Kenya - Most teas are grown in the highlands of the Great Rift Valley that runs through Kenya. The most prized teas come from the East. Grown at high altitudes, these teas are super sparkly and full of flavor.

Malawi - Known as the warm heart of Africa, the soil in this country is beautiful, vibrant, red color. This produces the most richly colored teas in the world.

China - The Chinese are experts in green, white and oolong teas. Each region has its own unique style, with closely guarded secrets passed down through generations. It would be impossible to taste all of the tea in China!

Ceylon (Sri Lanka) - This tropical island produces some beautiful teas – floral, fruity and smooth; it is grown high above sea level in the mountainous misty forests.

Darjeeling (India) - Grown in the foothills of the Himalayas, teas here are delicate and peachy. In fact, they are often referred to as the champagne of teas.

Assam (India) - Teas grown in the lush Brahmaputra valley of Northern India are rich, malty, brisk and full-bodied – perfect to wake you up in the morning.

Indonesia - These islands in South East Asia produce naturally spicy teas that take flavor well, perfect for Earl Grey blends.

Tea Types

Tea can be grouped into four major types, according to the degree of oxidation or exposure to air



Black Tea

One of the most widely consumed in North America, black tea is stronger in flavour. It is withered, rolled, sifted and oxidized until turns into a bright copper colour.


Green Tea

Extremely popular in China and Japan, green tea is free from the oxidation and withering process.


White Tea

Like Green tea, white tea is also non-oxidized but features young or minimally processed Camellia sinesis leaves, providing a light, sweet flavour.



Oolong Tea 

Oolong tea is semi-oxidized, and its leaves will have a greenish brown colour. This specialty tea is popular in East Asia, but not widely consumed in North America.


For Information on Tetley’s blending process and our Tea Master’s suggestions on how to brew the perfect cup of Black or Green tea, please visit The Perfect Brew.