Tea Cultivars and its Process

Did you know that tea cultivars have transformed the production of this ancient beverage, influencing its flavor and aroma? Explore this fascinating world, from its origins to its diversity and creation process.
tea cultivars

The world of tea is as diverse and complex as the infusions it produces. Among the many factors influencing the quality and flavor of tea, cultivars play a crucial role. In this post, we tell you everything you need to know about tea cultivars: plantations maintained and cared for by experts to achieve the desired diversity and quality in the production of each tea leaf.


What are tea cultivars?

Cultivars are tea plant varietals that have been created and modified to achieve specific characteristics, both in the tea itself and in its plantation. The landscape created by a tea varietal is characterised by its homogeneity and uniformity, particularly noticeable from an aerial view.

These characteristics may include attributes such as taste, aroma, harvest yield, and adaptability to different climatic and cultivation conditions. Each tea varietal has its distinctive qualities that influence the type of flavour and aroma it produces.

These tea cultivars are created through selected cuttings or seeds, and they are cultivated in specific regions that offer optimal conditions for their development. Over the centuries, producers have worked on creating and selecting cultivars that best suit their needs and preferences, leading to a wide diversity of tea cultivars worldwide.

Origins and history of tea cultivation

In the early days of tea cultivation, the process involved planting seeds. Trees were left to grow without pruning in plantations solely to produce seeds for future planting in nurseries. Although this method was the standard, it was laborious and required meticulous seed collection.

However, over time, farmers began to explore alternative techniques, such as tea cultivation through cuttings, which proved more efficient. This change marked a turning point in tea cultivation, paving the way for developing the varied and modern tea cultivars that are essential in today’s global tea industry.

come viene coltivato il tè

Diversity in tea cultivars

In a world where consumer preferences are constantly evolving, the diversity of tea crops becomes a vital element in maintaining relevance and competitiveness in the market.

Producers and tea growers are constantly searching for new varieties that can meet the changing consumer demands while adapting to climate and environmental challenges.

Each tea cultivar has its distinctive history, taste, and aroma. The wide variety and diversity of existing cultivars not only enrich the consumer experience but also promote the preservation and appreciation of traditional agricultural practices and artisanal production techniques associated with tea.

In un mondo in cui le preferenze dei consumatori sono in continua evoluzione, la diversità dei cultivar di tè diventa un elemento vitale per mantenere la rilevanza e la competitività sul mercato. I coltivatori e i produttori di tè sono alla costante ricerca di nuove varietà in grado di soddisfare le mutevoli richieste dei consumatori; al contempo si adattano alle sfide climatiche e ambientali. Ogni cultivar di tè ha una storia, un sapore e aromi peculiari. L'ampia varietà e diversità delle varietà esistenti non solo arricchisce l'esperienza del consumatore, ma incoraggia anche la conservazione e l'apprezzamento delle pratiche agricole tradizionali e delle tecniche di produzione artigianale associate al tè.

The most common tea cultivars

There is a wide diversity of tea cultivars, with some of the most well-known being:


The most popular varietal, cultivated since 1908 in Shizuoka, Japan, is especially used to produce sencha and other green teas. It is known for its strong umami flavor and resistance to cold weather.


Also cultivated in Japan, this varietal is a cross between two other cultivars: Yabukita and Asatsuyu. Its name, meaning “light green,” reflects the color it imparts to the infusion of its leaves.

Jin Xuan

A cultivar native to Taiwan developed in 1980 and grown in the highest areas. Its teas are characterized by their creamy flavor and are frequently used to produce oolong tea, such as the famous Milky Oolong.


This cultivar was registered in 1974 and created by the National Institute of Vegetable and Tea Sciences of Kanaya. It also comes from the Yabukita varietal, and some of its main characteristics are its intense green color and resistance to diseases.


Originating from China, this varietal is used in the oolong tea production. This tea cultivar produces teas with a floral flavour and a distinctive orchid aroma.

These are just a few examples of the tea cultivars that can be found, contributing to their adaptability, diversity of flavours, and aromas.

Tea cultivation process today

tea cultivation process

The process of creating a tea cultivar involves several carefully designed stages:

  1. Identification of desired characteristics: experts first identify the desired qualities and characteristics to develop in the cultivar, such as aroma, taste, adaptability to conditions, and disease resistance.
  2. Selection of “parents”: select the “parents” with some specific qualities.
  3. Crossing: the parent cultivars are carefully crossed to combine their desirable traits in the offspring. This process may involve controlled manual pollination to ensure a precise selective gene transfer.
  4. Testing and evaluation: the resulting seeds from the crossing are planted and grown under controlled conditions, such as nurseries or experimental fields. Their performance in real cultivation situations is observed and evaluated.
  5. Selection of the best cultivars: based on the field test results, the most promising cultivars that meet the desired characteristics are selected.
  6. Propagation and distribution: the selected cultivars are propagated on a larger scale through cuttings, grafts, or seeds, and distributed to tea producers interested in their cultivation.
  7. Continuous evaluation: as cultivars are grown and used commercially, continuous evaluations are conducted to study their performance and adaptability, and additional adjustments may be made, if needed.

This process requires time, care, and experience to develop new cultivars that meet both quality standards and market needs.


Tea cultivars play a fundamental role in the tea industry, affecting not only the taste and aroma of the final product but also its adaptability, resistance, and production yield.

For tea producers, understanding the importance of cultivars and staying abreast of the latest innovations in this field is essential to stay at the forefront of the industry.


Alveus Blog Team

Editorial team formed by tea professionals from different countries. We are driven by our passion for tea and the dissemination of its culture.

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