Tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. If you’ve ever gone into a tea shop or looked carefully at the shelves in the grocery store or shopped online for tea, you’ve seen the hundreds of kinds of teas available. How can all of these teas possibly come from one plant?
Before we go any further it’s important to note that not everything marketed as “tea” is from the camellia sinensis plant. There are hundreds of herbal teas and tisanes available and they are made from various herbal blends. Take away the herbal teas and there are still hundreds of teas available. So what exactly is tea?
Three factors determine the characteristics of tea. The first is the specific cultivar or variety of the camellia sinensis plant. The second, the way the leaves are processed and the third is the terroir in which the plants are grown.
There are basically six stages of processing and the location of each tea (where it is grown) changes the appearance and the flavor of the tea. Those six stages are plucking, withering,rolling and shaping, oxidation, firing and sorting. This produces six basic types of tea which includes white, green, yellow, oolong, black and dark but there are tons of variations with each process. In addition the geography,climate, country, elevation and weather types change the tea.
When I first became aware of these factors, I immediately realized how vast the tea world is. It seemed the more I read, the more I realized how much there is to know about tea. The tea world is vast. The information and history of teas is never ending. It is a fascinating world with so many interesting things one can learn. As I continue with my blog, I’ll be continuing to provide information about tea in the hope that you too will become even more informed and interested in tea.