A North Carolina Design II experiment was used to examine the genetic variability of yield, quality and some associated characters in tea (Camellia sinensis L.). Considerable variation was apparent for all parameters studied. Differences between progenies were attributable to general combining ability, rather than specific combining ability, for most of the characters. Relatively low narrow sense heritabilities were obtained for both yield and quality. Correlation coefficients, which were computed for all combinations of variates, showed that yield and quality were inversely related, and indicated that shoot density was the single most important factor governing yield. Principal component analysis was used in order to elucidate further this complex of relationships. It is suggested that bushes with an upright growth habit, a large number of shoots per unit area and a high rate of shoot extension will represent high yielding genotypes. Implications for breeding and selection are discussed.