In this post I would like to tell you about where tea is grown, the conditions it needs to grow and the seasons the tea leaves are picked. Camellia Sinensis can grow in many areas of the world, however to achieve the best quality and the taste it has certain conditions for growing:
Climate and Geography
Temperature: 21°C to 29°C is ideal for the production of tea. Although Camellia Sinensis var. Sinensis (Chinese Tea) can handle some frost throughout the winter, Camellia Sinensis var. Assamica (Indian Assam Tea) cannot at all, these require subtropical Northen Indian temperatures.
Rainfall: Typically around 150-250 cm.
Soil: Tea shrubs require fertile acidic mountain soil around pH 4.5 to 5.5.
Land: Tea cultivation needs well drained land, such mountain slopes are good for tea cultivation.
Elevation: The highest commercial tea operations are around 8000 feet (about 2400m), which are the more expensive teas as they give a different flavor and characteristics but have lower yield.
Tea growing Regions
Black Tea: Requires cooler and drier temperatures. It is usually grown at lower elevations than green tea. Indian Assam tea is made from Camellia Sinensis var. Assamica which has bigger leaves but other varieties of black teas are made from a mix of both varieties of the plant. Some types of black teas and where they are typically grown are as follows: Assam is typically grown in Northern India, Darjeeling by the foothills of the Himalayas and Ceylon in Sri Lanka.
Green Tea: Requires higher elevations and is typically grown in South and East of china where the climate ranges from tropical to subtropical and Southern japan. China has better rainfall due to Japan’s climate being moderated by the Ocean which makes Japan more humid. China tends to produce pan-fried green tea whereas Japan produces the steamed variety.
Oolong and White Teas: Both predominately grown and cultivated in Fujian province, China which has a subtropical climate. White tea is made from the buds of the tea plant and Oolong is made from rolling the leaves or curling them into small beads.
Pu-erh: Grown predominately in Yunnan province, China. Yunnan is mountainous and temperature range from tropical to subtropical. This tea is dried, rolled and shaped and is known as Red Tea in China.
Tea can be cultivated during three seasons which produce three different flushes. Each flush has a different flavor and if you are an avid tea drinker you will tend to have a favorite flush.
Spring: First flush is a more delicate, lighter in flavor and are the more higher quality. This is the most popular and expensive as not a lot is produced.
Summer: Second flush has a darker color and stronger taste compared to the first flush. This will be the flush most commonly found in stores.
Autumn: Full bodied and lighter in flavor. This is sometimes considered the best flush by some tea connoisseurs and the more rare to find in stores.
If you have a favorite flush you buy every year be aware that the plant will always produce a different flavor each time it is cultivated as it depends on the conditions of growth. So be open minded when you drink your next cup of tea or keep notes how the flavor changes year to year!
Image taken from: http://www.thehindu.com/business/efforts-on-to-make-tea-industry-climatesmart/article7724021.ece