Tea is a commodity that is a mild mannered beverage that was discovered centuries ago. There is only one species of tea that all tea leaf is harvested from a sturdy and hardy evergreen bush, known as the Camellia Sinensis, which is grown from one of three primary origin specific varietal bushes: they are the Assam bush, the China bush, and the Java Bush. The leaves are dark and shiny with a high gloss. Chinese teas
are very different from the teas of India, and then both of those teas are different from the Ceylon teas.
The ancestry of origin of tea began in China, where it is believed that the source of the indigenous tea bushes is located and the first tea gardens appeared. Today, we have come to know that tea trees are located across seven tea mountains, and several of them are fivehundred to a thousand years old.
Assam Bush“ - It loves the rich soil that prefers light, acidic (slightly),
and a well drained area with high humidity and the rainfall is around 100
inches a year. The average temperature is important also, maintaining an
average temperature of 85 degree F. This temperature will guarantee
growth of the Assam bush. Assam is a black tea and it is preferred
breeding spots are India, Sri Lanka, and most of Africa.
China Bush - This tea bush has a distinct preferred growing
season. This bush is the cousin of the Assam bush. It thrives in
geographical locations near the northern or southern margins of the subtropical
zone. It likes to grow at really high altitudes, generally preferring to
be between 3,000 and 5,000 feet on mountain sides having a 45-60 degree
slope. In the northern hemisphere, the growing season is between March
and May and in the southern hemisphere, it is between September and November,
and it sends new growth out in early spring. Java Bush – Growing areas
that are tropical, rugged and raspy, and often full of mountains are ideal for
the Java bush. This variety of tea is very hearty, but often undependable
when compared to the Assam bush or the China bush. The Java bush is found
in the Southeast Asia regions, with a special concentration on
Indonesia. Although times have changed and centuries and years have passed us
by, in the world of tea, much has remained the same. There are four
distinct tea types, which are black tea, green tea, oolong tea, and white tea
(the most expensive). Though they are distinctively different, they all
still come from the same tea bush, the camellia sinensis, but they go through a
different method of harvesting and processing. The process of taking a fresh
tea leaf and making it a green tea is verydifferent from the process of making
a black or oolong tea. The method of manufacturing the leaf is the
difference. Teas are so unique that they carry a fingerprint just like
the human hand. The traditions of the people where they originate, and
their customs, beliefs, and regions all play an intricate part in how the tea
is manufactured and the final outcome of the tea leaf. The tea production
process starts with the soild of a particular region (it matters if the tea
bush is harvested in the north or south, coastal or central areas which produce
the “style of a tea”). The growing conditions, the pruning of
the bushes, the timing of the bush picking, the leaf style being picked, the
skill and tea knowledge of the tea picker, the weather during the harvesting
season, and the experience of the tea precessors all must be considered when
harvesting teas. No matter which tea tickles your fancy, they are all high in
antioxidants and very good for your overall health and they aid in helping you
maintain a healthly lifestyle.
After plucking, the fresh leaves are spread out to dry or wither. Then the leaves are either rolled to crush the leaf and release the essential oils and enjymes, or passed through a cut, tear, and curl machine. After that, the tea is left to ferment
until it becomes a bright copper color. Then it’s dried to halt the fermentation and sterlize the leaves. This turns the leaves dark brown or black. Finally the tea is sorted into the various differnt leaf grades.
Green teas are not fermented. Immediately after plucking, the
leaves are steamed in large iron pans over a fire to soften them.
They are then rolled and dried.
Means “black dragon” in Chinese and is traditionally used for tea that is
semi-fermented. After plucking, oolong teas are processed in a similar way to black teas, but the fermentation time is much shorter. They tend to have a large leaf and produce a pale bright liquor with a delicate flavor.
There is still some confusion about exactly what constitutes a white
tea, but we believe it to mean a completely unfermented tea where only the
unopened bud and sometimes the first new leaf are used. Although
China is traditionally the place where white tea was first produced, countries
such as Darjeeling and Sri Lanka now also make white teas. Note:
Infusions don’t contain tea. They are made from natural herbs, flowers
and fruits. The main difference between traditional tea and infusions is
that the infusions do not contain caffeine.