Join our email list and get $5 to shop! Free shipping on all orders.

Soil And Tea Quality (Tea Terroir Part IV)

This is the next installment of a series of blog posts on Tea Terroir. Read the first one here.

Tea terroir is the set of environmental factors that influence the taste and overall characteristics of a tea.


There are two important qualities of soil that impact the flavor of tea and contribute to what is known as that tea’s terroir: acidity and nutrients. The soil’s acidity and nutrient composition influence the growth of the Camellia Sinensis plant and subsequently the quality of the taste produced from its leaves.


The tea plant grows best in acidic soil that has a pH between 4.5 and 5.5. Some of the nutrients that are important for tea growth are calcium, magnesium, and nitrogen. Rocky mountain soil is nutrient-dense and acidic which is part of the reason tea grown at an elevation tends to be of superior quality. Similarly, volcanic soil is extremely nutrient-dense and acidic so tea is bountiful around volcanos. Hawaii, for example, has many healthy and thriving tea plantations because of this soil and the native tropical climate.


As a tea plant grows and uses a soil’s mineral resources, these resources deplete. Fertilizers are used to supplement and replenish these valuable compounds. The fertilizers used are also a factor in terroir and tea quality. Natural fertilizers such as rotting insects and other plants can lend a unique and appealing flavor to teas. For example, the Japanese use grass as fertilizer, contributing to the tea's distinct grassy flavor.


The composition of the soil is important because the plant is absorbing the nutrients, minerals, and other unique particles around it. Tea plant roots grow deep and are very absorbent. Many tea experts say that good quality teas taste like the region they're from because they've picked up the flavors of nearby plants and terrain.


Next time you're enjoying a tea, pay attention to where it's from- that's terroir.

Share this post

Leave a comment

Note, comments must be approved before they are published