Where do Tea Leaves Come From?
Tea is a popular beverage made by steeping processed leaves of certain plants in hot water. While there are many types of tea, the most common tea is made from leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. The leaves of this plant are the source for many of the world’s teas.
Types of Tea Leaves
Tea leaves are harvested from two main varieties of the camellia sinensis plant. These varieties are:
- Camellia Sinensis Var. Sinensis: This variety is native to China, Taiwan, and some areas of Japan. It is referred to as Chinese tea. The leaves are small and fragile, and it is suitable for making green and white tea.
- Camellia Sinensis Var. Assamica: This variety is largely grown in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. It is referred to as Indian tea. The leaves are larger and more robust and they are suitable for making black, oolong, and some types of green tea.
Geographical Sources of Tea Leaves
Tea leaves are grown in geographical locations with the right climate and soil conditions. These conditions vary depending on the type of tea. Here is a list of the main geographical sources of tea leaves in the world:
- China: China produces the most tea in the world, with a majority of it being green tea.
- India: India is the second largest producer of tea in the world, with the majority of it being black tea.
- Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka is the third largest producer of tea in the world, and it is known for its high-quality black tea.
- Japan: Japan is the fourth-largest producer of tea in the world, and it is renowned for its green tea.
- Africa: Africa is home to many tea plantations and is known for producing flavorful black and oolong teas.
Processing Tea Leaves
Once the tea leaves are harvested, they are dried and processed in various ways to make different types of tea. Depending on the type of tea, the leaves may be withered, rolled, oxidised, or fired in a wok. Each procedure is tailored to bring out certain characteristics in the tea leaves that create a unique flavor and aroma. The dried leaves are then aged until ready for sale.
Tea is a popular beverage that can be made from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. These leaves are harvested in various geographical locations and they undergo various processes to make different types of tea. With its soothing properties and numerous flavors, tea is sure to be enjoyed for many years to come.