The history of tea science department can be traced back to 1930 when it was a tea and sugarcane part of the National Sun Yat-Sen University. In 1974, the teaching and researching laboratory of tea science was founded in South China Agricultural College. At present, a multi–layer educational system with Undergraduate, graduate and doctorate has been established in tea science department. The undergraduate program, graduate program and doctorate program were authorized in 1977, 1991 and 2003 respectively. In 2000, the tea major of South China Agricultural University was approved by the Ministry of education as the nation's priority to protect for development of a national distinguishing major. In 2008, the tea science laboratory was sponsored by both Guangdong province government and the Ministry of Finance to build as a distinguishing laboratory.
The Undergraduate program of tea major at South China Agricultural University offers three educational direction, including tea science, tea processing and trade, and tea art. Graduate program and doctorate program offer student’s researches on the follow four fields, tea science, tea processing and trade, tea plant cultivation and germplasm resources, and tea art.
There are eight professional laboratories in tea science department, including laboratory of tea cultivation and breeding, laboratory of tea processing, laboratory of tea biochemistry, laboratory of tea appraisal , laboratory of tea beverage processing, laboratory of tea art training and show, laboratory of tea deep processing and comprehensive utilization and laboratory of tea dishes. Two in-campus practice bases and more than ten off-campus practice bases of tea science department have been established.
Relying on the advantages of geographical position and climate in Guangdong, after decades of development, tea science discipline has formed its characteristic and superiority, has built a stable teaching and researching team. The team has done a series of researches on the field of tea plant cultivation techniques, tea crude, pure and deep processing, comprehensive utilization of tea, control of tea plant pet and disease, tea biotechnology, mechanization of tea manufacture, tea art and so on.