Will tea grow in the US? [2023]

Will tea grow in the US?

Are you wondering if the United States is a suitable place for tea farming? Tea production is often associated with Asian countries like China and India, but the US is also experiencing growth in the industry. In this article, we will dive into the possibilities of tea farming in the US and explore the challenges and opportunities.

Tea farming in the US: A brief history

Tea production in the US started in 1744 when tea seeds were brought to the country and planted in Charleston, South Carolina. The Patriots of the American Revolution boycotted tea from the British empire, and tea production in the US started to grow. However, the production of tea in the US declined after the revolution.

In 1888, a new attempt to grow tea in the US was made when the US government established an experimental tea farm in Summerville, South Carolina. Later, other southern states like Alabama and Mississippi joined the tea-farming industry.

Nowadays, the US tea industry is growing due to the fact that more people are drinking tea in the country than ever before. If you’re interested in growing tea, the following information will be useful to you.

Tea growing regions in the US

Many tea farms in the US are located in the southern states, including Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Hawaii. Some states in the northeast, like New York and Massachusetts, are also emerging as potential tea-growing regions. Tea farming in the US is not limited to a specific climate or soil type, but some types of tea, like the famous Camellia sinensis plant, require specific conditions to grow.

The type of tea grown in each region depends on the climate, soil type, and other environmental factors. For example, Alabama is known for producing black tea, while South Carolina is famous for its oolong variety. Hawaii is a popular region for growing white tea.

The challenges of tea farming in the US

Even though the US is not the most popular tea-growing region, it still has a lot of potential. However, some challenges come with tea farming in the US.

One challenge that tea farmers in the US face is the lack of infrastructure. There are not enough tea-processing plants, and tea farmers have to transport their raw tea leaves to processing plants located far from their farms.

Another challenge is the cost of labor. Tea farming requires manual labor, which can be expensive in the US due to the high minimum wage.

Moreover, the weather can also be a challenge. Tea requires a lot of rain, and many regions in the US do not get enough rainfall. Farmers have to install irrigation systems to keep the plants hydrated.

Finally, tea farmers have to deal with pests and diseases that can kill their plants. They have to keep an eye on the plants to ensure they remain healthy and unaffected by diseases.


Blackened tea leaves

Why isn't tea grown in the US?

Tea farming in the US is not as popular as in other countries due to the high cost of labor, lack of infrastructure, and challenges with the weather. These factors make it difficult for tea farmers to compete with cheaper tea production from other countries.

What is the only state in the US that grows tea?

South Carolina is the only state in the US that commercially grows tea.

Is tea farming profitable?

Tea farming can be profitable, especially if the farmer is dedicated to producing high-quality tea and markets it correctly. However, it requires patience, hard work, and a long-term investment.

Quick Tips and Facts

  • The US consumed about 84 billion servings of tea in 2022, making it the third-largest tea-drinking country in the world.
  • The US tea industry is expected to reach $12.8 billion by 2027.
  • Tea farming requires a lot of manual labor and attention to detail.
  • Tea farming is a long-term investment that takes several years to produce its first yield.

Tea farming is a great way to contribute to the environmental and economic growth of the US. It requires a lot of patience and hard work, but the results are rewarding.

If you're thinking about starting a tea farm, we recommend doing extensive research on soil types, climate conditions, and the business side of tea farming. Connect with experienced tea farmers who can provide valuable advice and mentorship.

With proper planning and attention to detail, tea farming in the US can be a successful and profitable business.


  1. Tea production – Wikipedia
  2. Tea growing regions in the United States – The Spruce Eats
  3. Tea Industry Analysis – Global, Regional, Country, Industry Research, Trends, Statistics – Grand View Research
  4. US Tea Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Product, By Application, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2020 – 2027 – Grand View Research

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