What is Tea and Where does Tea come from?
Tea is the infusion of leaves from the Camellia Sinensis plant. Camellia sinensis, an evergreen plant, loves the subtropics of Asia. It is native to South East Asia, specifically the region of Assam, India and was first cultivated in China. This plant variety comes from the tea family or Theaceae.
Camellia sinensis can grow upwards of 10 meters if not pruned. When the plant is only two years old, it is already five to six feet tall; this is when the first pruning takes place. Pruning encourages the plant to grow outward, becoming bushy and promotes the growth of new buds and leaves. By the age of three, leaves from the plant are plucked and used to make tea. The plants leaves are used for making tea until the plant is between 30 and 40 years old. Throughout its life, the camellia sinensis plant is kept pruned between four and six feet tall. This enables the pickers’ easy access to the young new buds and leaves of the plant. Each year, in the fall, white flowers, about 1 ½ inches in diameter, start to blossom. These flowers typically have between 5 and 7 petals and dozens of bright yellow stamens. The flowers are very fragrant.
As the tea plants age, similar to grape vines, they produce more full body flavoured liquors.