The question, where does tea come from? May or may not have crossed your mind while sipping a tall glass of Iced Sweet Tea, or unsweet tea.. if that’s your thing?! At any rate, most of us have no idea where that beautiful liquid gold comes from before it makes its way to our local grocery store or tea shop.
When I started Sweet Tea Junkie in late 2005 all I knew was that I really liked Sweet Tea and that folks liked the idea of my “Sweet Tea Shirts,” the question of “Where does tea come from?” simply never entered my thinking.
That is until late 2011 early 2012 when I began to seriously consider expanding the Sweet Tea Junkie brand to include our own line of premium tea. At that point I didn’t know if I wanted to start out going the bottled tea route, or ready to brew tea or if we just wanted to be a reseller of other more established tea brands.
One thing that I knew for sure, regardless of the direction we went with the tea business is that I needed to understand everything I could about it. The question “Where does tea come from?” couldn’t simply be something that I hadn’t a clue about. It was now my mission to learn, and learn everything I could about this subject.
The first thing that I learned is that all tea comes from the Camellia sinensis, which is more commonly called a tea-plant or tea tree (interestingly enough however, tea tree oil is not derived from the Camellia sinensis, but another plant with a name longer than Camellia sinensis!). There are two major varieties of the Camellia Sinensis used in tea production and they are: Camellia Sinensis var. Sinensis and Camellia Sinensis var. Assamica.
So with that in mind, you can conclude that all the different types of teas be it
white, green, oolong, black etc. come from the Camellia sinensis plant. True story, scouts honor!
What gives each type of tea its distinct characteristics is in the way it is processed once the leaves are plucked from the plant. Now to be sure, there are different growing regions all over the world and the climate (rainfall, temperature etc.) of those regions plays a role in the taste of the tea that ends up in your glass.
It is actually a very precise science to create the many varieties of tea, and I’ll cover each of the main varieties of tea in later posts where we can break down each in more depth.
If you’re more of a visual learner, check out the info graphic below.. and pin it!