The Camellia Sinensis Plant
Green tea is a beverage made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. This plant is native to Asia, particularly the East, South, and Southeast regions, but the use of this tea plant has grown so much that it’s cultivated in many parts of the world. From the time it is planted, it takes approximately three years for a tea plant to produce leaves that can be harvested for the making of tea. While the tea plant is obviously known for its vibrant, green leaves, the Camellia sinensis also produces small white flowers with yellow centers.
Altough Camellia Sinensis is cultivated in many regions, the original variety that produces green tea, Camellia Sinesis var sinensis does not grow anywhere. In fact, in India, Sri Lanka and almost every part of the world except China, Japan, Taiwan, Camellia Sinesis var. assamica is used, which is not quite the same as var sinensis. For this reason, a green tea from India is very different from a green tea from China.
Considered to be an evergreen, the Camellia sinensis will not tolerate frost or extreme heat and dry climates. Therefore, it is mostly cultivated in moist, tropical climes. If the temperature drops below 13 degrees Celsius or above 30, tea plants do not survive well. Most of the world’s tea is cultivated in China, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Turkey, although many other countries do produce smaller amounts.
Multiple Teas Produced from the Same Plant
The process of each tea variety begins with plucking the youngest leaf buds and leaves from the plant. The difference in tea produced is dependent upon what is done with the leaves after they have been removed from the plant. For example, green tea is made from leaves that have been dried, steamed or roasted, and dried again while black tea is made by rolling the leaves and crushing them until the leaves change color, and then drying them.
Purchasing Green Tea
There are many places to purchase green tea—and not all green teas are equal. When it comes to purchasing green tea, there are a few things to consider, such as:
- The flavor of tea you prefer – different flavors of green tea are available throughout the world.
- Convenience of purchasing your tea – you can purchase online or in various store locations.
- How the tea was cultivated – do you have a preference on how you green tea is cultivated?
- The quality of the tea – are you going for quality or price?
- The geographical location the tea was cultivated in – location can play a part in the flavor and cost of the tea.
These considerations can help you find green tea you will ultimately enjoy.