We know you love our frivolous and playful articles, but this time out we thought that we would like to be a little more serious. A bit like the British way. You know, all stiff upper lips and cups of tea. And that made us think - where does the good, old fashioned tea actually come from, how is it grown and who grows it? A little more investigation is most definitely required.
Tea - the basics
Tea is found in the tropics and it belongs to the camellia family of plants. It grows all around parts of South-East Asia, with its origins said to be in India and China. With a look not dissimilar to a classic British privet hedge, its the tips of the tea plants leaves that go into the nation’s favourite brewed drink.
Where is it grown?
Most of the tea you drink is raised on a smallholding, although sometimes owners of smallholders come together to group their product and demand a better price from the factory. Some tea is grown on special estates that occupy huge sways of land, with some even having their own factory, offices and other work buildings. In many ways this is the manner in which tea has now been produced for centuries.
Even though the tea plant was originally indigenous to the South East Asian region, it has now spread all over the globe. You can find tea in Australia, all over places like Indonesia and Ceylon and even in place in the Northern hemisphere, albeit not in large scale commercial batches.
And so how is it grown?
How are tea plants grown? On the whole they are first raised as small cuttings or propagated gently as seeds before being introduced to the tougher outdoors climate. These are then nursed into the tea plants that we all know and love, which usually sit some 125cm tall or around 4ft in old money.
WIth a lifespan of around 4 to 12 years, tea plants provide a huge yield. It usually requires 3 years before the plant is suitable to provide tea. These plants prosper best at 1500 ft above sea level and in acidic soil.
Harvesting the product
When tea is picked the top five leaves are picked off each stem together with part of the stalk. This is called the flush and is dried out to make the team. Flushes regrow every 2-3 weeks, with the slower growing flushes considered the best in flavour. Once the flushes are picked these are gathered together and sent off to the factory for processing.
Our final word
Fortunately you do not have to go through all the rigmarole described in this article to come up with a cup of tea for your drinking pleasure. All you have to do is check out the different brews and blends available and choose one that suits your palette at FreshPac. Follow this link to see our considerable varieties.