What Plant Does Black Tea Come From?
Black tea is one of the most popular teas in the world, due to its full-bodied flavour and pleasing aroma. But, have you ever stopped to think about what plant black tea actually comes from?
The Camellia Sinensis Plant
Black tea is produced from the leaves, buds and stems of the Camellia sinensis plant. Sometimes referred to as “the tea plant”, Camellia sinensis is an evergreen shrub native to East Asia, but today grows in many other areas of the world, as well.
Varieties of Tea Plant
Within the Camellia sinensis species there are several varieties, which are typically determined by their geographic growing locations and the specific methods of cultivation and processing used. The following varieties are most commonly used to produce black tea:
- China- Camellia sinensis var. sinensis
- Assam- Camellia sinensis var. assamica
- Cambodia (Khmer)- Camellia sinensis var. pubilimba
Tasting The Difference
Whilst black tea is made from all the varieties of Camellia sinensis, there are slight differences in the taste and aroma of each tea. Tea sourced from the Assam and China varieties often has a bolder flavour, whilst tea sourced from the Cambodian variety has a slightly milder, sweeter taste.
So, the next time you’re enjoying a cup of black tea, remember that it all begins with the Camellia sinensis plant! The variety of tea plant used will determine the nuances of the tea’s flavour and aroma, giving each cup of black tea a unique character of its own.