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What is Tea? Part 1…

June 03, 2013

As i’ve said before, in preparation for the new wesbite (it’s currently undergoing some testing and then it’ll be ready, I promise!) I’m writing a series of posts about PostTea, about tea in general, and about our teas. We want to share all our tea knowledge, but know that when you come to buy something you don’t want to have to wade through tonnes of information, so all the product listings will have links to short blog posts!

So, ‘What is Tea’?

  • Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world behind water.
  • All teas, including black, green, white, yellow or pu’erh tea, is made from the leaves of the same plant, the Camellia sinensis, of the Camellia family.
  • Camellia sinensis is a sub-tropical plant, native to Asia, but it is now grown around the world where the climate is right, including Africa, the USA and even England.
  • The plant grows best in loose, deep soil at high altitude. The very best black tea, Darjeeling, is grown high up in the Himalayas, for example, but tea will grow in areas from sea level up to 2,000m above sea level, if the conditions are right.
  • In some ways, tea is like wine. Variations in flavour come from the surroundings in which it grows, the humifity, the soil content, the rainfall, or the age of the tea plant, for example. This means that tea that is ‘good’ one year, might be even better the following year. Single estate teas can even have vintages, like wines.
In short, ‘tea’ is anything that derives from the Camellia sinensis plant. Anything else, while sometimes called ‘tea’, like peppermint or chamomile is more accurately called a herbal tea, an infusion or a tisane.

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