Relatively little is known about the diversity and origins of tea. The highest value tea products are sold on the basis of their region of origin but there are currently no methods available to verify the claims made on packages. We have developed 15 microsatellite loci for tea. These have been evaluated for polymorphism in a set of tea clones to determine their usefulness for authentication purposes. The majority of the microsatellites developed proved to be highly polymorphic both between and within different geographical origins and offer the potential to investigate the population genetics and genetic origins of tea.