The Origins Of Tea
Tea is one of the world’s most beloved and popular beverages. But what is it made out of? Find out the fascinating details about the specifics of what tea is and where it comes from.
Ingredients and Origins of Tea
At its most basic, tea is simply the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is native to the subtropical regions of East Asia. There are two primary varieties of this plant:
- CameLLIA SINENIIS SINENSIS – native to China and other parts of East Asia, and
- CAMELLIA SINENIS ASSAMICA – native to India and other parts of Southeast Asia.
These two varieties of the Camellia sinensis plant are the ancestors of the teas found in stores and cafes today. Depending on how the leaves are processed and combined, tea can be classified and differentiated into 8 main types: White, Green, Oolong, Black, Pu-erh, Yellow, Dark, and Flavored/Fruit tea.
Preparation of Tea
The first step in preparing tea depends on the type of tea being made. White and green tea leaves are only lightly steam heated, pan fired, or steamed before being processed. Oolong and black tea leaves are usually withered and rolled before the drying process. Pu-erh tea leaves are usually partially fermented. Yellow and dark tea leaves are oxidized, and flavored tea leaves are generally mixed with an assortment of other ingredients.
After the leaves have been processed, they are then filtered and dried to remove any residual moisture. The final product is a tea leaf that can be brewed in hot water to produce a hot tea drink.
Depending on the type of tea, the caffeine content can vary greatly. The least caffeinated teas are white tea, followed by green tea, yellow tea, and oolong tea. The most caffeinated teas are black tea and pu-erh tea. Flavored teas also typically contain more caffeine than traditional teas.
To sum it up, tea is derived from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is native to the subtropical regions of East Asia. Depending on how the leaves are processed, tea can be classified into 8 main types. All teas are brewed in hot water, and the caffeine content can vary depending on the type of tea.