All tea comes from the same plant, who’s scientific name is Camellia Sinensis. It's related to the Camellia Japonica, a common garden tree or shrub. All tea comes from this plant whether it is a Green Tea, a Black Tea,
a White Tea or an Oolong Tea.
Tea grows best in tropical and subtropical climates with abundant rainfall and rich soil. The tea plant can grow to heights of 30 feet if left. Tea plants or bushes are usually kept between three and five feet. This height allows for convenient plucking of tender tea leaves. Pruning, or nipping also stimulates the growth of new young leaves or flush.
If properly cultivated, tea bushes can have a productive life span exceeding 100 years.
All teas originate from one of two important subspecies, either the Assam (Assamica) or China (Sinensis).
Grown in India, Sri Lanka and in other parts of the world, the Assam tea produces large, strong tasting leaves.
The China tea, cultivated in China, Taiwan, Japan and parts of Darjeeling, yields a more delicate tea with smaller leaves. Climate, the altitude and the soil, all play a role in determining the quality of tea. The plant flourishes at altitudes between 2000 and 6500 feet.
The finest quality teas grow at higher altitudes where the cool climate slows growth, allowing more concentrated flavours to develop in the leaves.
FROM EARTH TO YOUR CUP
To ensure the highest quality teas, the newest tips of “two leaves and a bud” of are plucked by hand. This practice of fine plucking produces the best tasting tea but low yields – around two to three thousand leaves only translates into a pound of finished product.
This frequent picking of the young leaves and buds promotes new growth throughout the year. Depending upon the origin, bushes are plucked anywhere from three to twelve times a year. Plucking is often referred
to as “flushes."
The major types of tea including white, green, oolong and black all originate from the Camellia Sinensis tea bush. The difference in them is brought about only from theway the plucked leaves are processed.
The process is fermentation, or oxidation and simply put, the longer this process is left the darker the tea becomes.