The History of Argentine Tea
By Bonnie Hall — Sourcing and Quality Manager
Ever wonder about the origin of the iced tea you drink? One of the most widely used origins for iced tea is Argentina. Argentina is the tenth largest producer of tea in the world and exports about 75 percent of its tea. Tea is not native to Argentina. It was first introduced in the 1920s with seeds from Russia and Paraguay. Seeds from Assam and Ceylon were also planted in the 1930s. The industry experienced considerable growth through the rest of the century as it began to export tea and internal consumption grew.
Most Argentine tea is grown and produced in the province of Misiones, which is also home to the famous Iguacu Falls and the sub-tropical rainforest biome Mata Atlantica. Misiones is located in the uppermost region of Argentina sandwiched between Brazil and Paraguay.
Today, Argentine tea bushes are a mixture of the more traditional seed plants and clonals developed to increase yields and with better resistance to pests, disease and climate change. Around 45,000 hectares are in production. Tea is harvested in Argentina from November to April, and there are typically four to seven flushes per year depending on climate and farm harvest practices. The Argentine tea industry is mostly supported by smallholders who sell their leaf to the local factories who manufacture black or green tea grades. S&D works directly with many factories in Argentina to ensure all our teas meet our quality standards.
With summer on the way, enjoy your favorite iced tea understanding a bit more of tea’s journey from farm to glass!
Want to find out more about Argentina tea? Read S&D’s weekly market reports.