THE TEA PLANT
Originally only produced in China, Tea is now produced in 41 countries with over 20,000 varieties. Today, tea is the second most widely consumed beverage on the plant, only falling second to water.
The Tea Plant
The tea plant is a tropical and subtropical evergreen plant, grown at sea level. For optimal growth the tea plant prefers warm, humid climates and well distributed rainfall and long periods of sunlight. Generally, the tea plant will grow in most soil types, under the condition the soil is well drained. After three years, plants are ready to produce and can do so for hundreds of years.
Tea plant varieties
- Camallia Simensis
A smaller-leafed Chinese specie, the Camallia Simensis is hearty and can withstand the cold. This species is most likely to be found in China and Darjeeling.
- Camellia Sinensis Assamica
A comparatively larger variety, the Camellia Sinensis Assamica was discovered in Assam, India. Vigorous and prolific, but is generally sensitive to frost.
There are many types of tea that can be produced from the tea plant White, Green, Oolong, Black and Pu-erh.
A herbal tea (also known as tisane) is a herbal infusion that is made using areas of the tea plant other than the leaves.
Traditional countries of Origin
- China: green tea, white tea, black tea, polong tea, pu-erh tea
- Japan: green tea
- Sri Lanka: black tea
- India: black tea
- Taiwan: oolong tea
Of course there are other non tea herbal infusions available. The Bright Tea Company and Twinings offer a full range and these include:
- Peppermint tea
- Lemon tea
- Camomile tea
- Cranberry and Raspberry tea
- Lemon and Ginger tea
- Body: Milk (skin, semi skim, whole)
- Acidity: Apples (braeburn, Pink Lady, Granny Smith)
- Flavours: Citrus (clementines, grapefruit and orange), chocolate (milk, dark and baker’s chocolate)