Introduction to Tea

There are four main types of tea: green tea, black tea, oolong tea and white tea. There are even more varieties, including flavoured, scented and "herbal infusions," but for the sake of simplicity we'll focus on the big four right now. What many people don't know is that these four types of tea come from one plant, not four different species of plant.

 

All tea begins as the plant known as Camellia sinensis. It's the way the tea leaves are processed that gives us the different teas and their specific taste, colour and scent.

Tea is similar to wine in that the atmosphere in which it's grown determines much of the flavour and quality. Tea plants typically fare best in acidic soil and regions with heavy rainfall, although they can be grown anywhere from sea level to altitudes as high as 1.3 miles above sea level.

There are generally two harvests throughout the year -- "first flush" in early spring and "second flush" in summer.