What is Tea?
It sounds like a daft question – but what is tea? We’ll tell you right here:
Most people are used to seeing their tea powdered and wrapped up in a tea bag. But this is not tea in its natural form. The word tea is used as very loose term, covering everything from english breakfast to peppermint infusions – but in the strict sense, only those that are grown from the Camellia Sinensis plant are actually tea.
All tea comes from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis – a small evergreen shrub which is cultivated for its soft green leaves (which will eventually be processed into all types of tea). And when we say all different types, we mean ALL. Thats black, green, white, yellow, pu-erh, and oolong varieties, all from the same species of plant.
What makes these varieties of tea different is the way that they are grown and then processed to gain the right characteristics. The growing regions, soil conditions, climates, altitudes etc. will also affect the final result of the tea. For example, a green tea in grown in China will have significant differences in taste to one grown in Japan. With ever changing climates affecting the growing season of the plant, tea grown in a certain region may have a slightly different taste from one year to the next.
Fresh leaves from the the tea plant can be found to contain upto 4% caffeine before processing. Leaves of different ages produce different qualities in the tea, with the younger, white coloured leaves being preferable.
The ways in which the tea is processed are as wide and varied as the conditions they are grown in. The processing is what takes the plucked leaves and stems of the Camellia Sinensis plant and turns them into the dried leaves used for brewing. A series of techniques including withering, oxidation and rolling the tea are used to create the finished product. Variations in these processes create the differences between green, black, oolongs, or any other type of tea.
Contact our wholesale department for more information on our tea, or let us know if you have any special requests.