Tea has become a popular choice of drink among an increasing number of individuals. Information that advocates the benefits of tea consumption is continuously being released.
Tea comes from a plant known as Camellia sinensis. This plant favors tropical climates that offer a combination of cool and hot weather as well as large amounts of rain. While tea can be grown just about anywhere, cooler climates and higher elevations often provide a better product. Successful tea cultivation is dependent upon various environmental factors. The quality, flavor, and characteristics of tea are a direct reflection of the climate, soil, rain, and altitude in which the Camellia sinensis plant is grown.
The cloning of tea plants is a more popular choice than beginning with seeds. Cloning occurs when a portion of a mature plant is cut and rooted in a special nursery for one to two years. The plants are transferred to tea fields once the initial re-rooting process is complete. The leaves are plucked when new shoots emerge, which can occur year-round in hotter climates and during peak seasons in cooler climates.
The leaves of the plant can be harvested for many years once maturity has been reached. The leaves are commonly harvested by hand. However, advanced agricultural machinery has allowed the option of utilizing a machine to assist in the plucking of leaves.
A plucking system is enforced in many countries while harvesting. Coarse plucking refers to the plucking of the bud and top three or four leaves of a branch. Fine plucking refers to the plucking of the bud and the top two leaves. Leaves that are collected during the fine plucking system are young, fresh, and are optimal for higher quality teas. Imperial plucking gathers the bud and the first leave on the branch.
Leaves are often harvested four to five times a year. Once the leaves have been picked, most of the moisture is removed. In order to remove moisture, the leaves are spread out, which takes approximately twelve to eighteen hours. The leaves wither, become soft and are less likely to tear when they are rolled. Natural juices are released to the surface of the leaves when they are rolled due to the rupturing of membranes.
Once the withering process is complete, the leaves are placed in a large oven. When the leaves are subjected to boiling water, the essential oils are released, creating tea. There are a lot of steps that go into the growth, harvesting, and production of tea. However, the results provide great benefits when consumed in moderation.