Tea (camellia sinensis) is an evergreen plant that grows primarily in tropical and sub-tropical climates but some varieties can grow as far south as Tasmania and New Zealand or as far north as Canada. The plants prefer high rain fall regions and slightly acidic soils (like those found in volcanic areas).
It takes about 4 years from planting before harvesting can start at a commercial level. Left to nature, a tea plant can grow up to 16m tall. In many parts of China, there are still forests with ancient and large tea trees.
Tea plants are native to China and up to the mid 1800s, China was the only place growing tea commercially. A spy, Robert Fortune, working for England stole the tea plant from China in the mid-1800s and took it to Darjeeling, India where it has since been spread across the globe.
Australia produces some tea, the Impala + Peacock Genmaicha is sourced from a Victorian farm (under Japanese growing and production techniques) however the Australian climate tends to be very harsh, imparting a bitterness to many of the Australian grown teas. The Impala + Peacock Brunswick Breakfast incorporates some tea grown in northern NSW.
The chart below gives a great snap shot of where our tea comes from. It's clear to see that China still leads the way in tea production, curiously Japan produces only a very small amount of tea despite it's strong tea culture.