I have been a tea drinker all of my adult life, but before I became a serious tea drinker, I didn’t give much thought to where tea came from. I assumed that tea bags and the contents were made in a factory. I never thought of tea as an agricultural product until I started taking tea classes.
Once I learned that tea comes from the processed leaves of the camellia sinensis plant, a whole new world opened up for me. The various types of tea (black, white, green, oolong and puerh) are all made from tea leaves and for the most part it’s how the leaf is processed that determines which category of tea it becomes.
There are three major elements that factor into the final product:
- Camellia sinensis variety or cultivar of the tea plant
- Terroir, the local environment, of where the tea plant is grown
- Processing technique used after the leaves are harvested
Together these elements influence the finished tea product. In general loose leaf tea is made from a higher grade of tea than the tea leaves cut into small bits for tea bags.
When you drink loose leaf tea, we hope you take the time to look at and smell the dried tea leaves before you make a cup of tea, and then look at and smell the wet leaves after you steep them in hot water.
You can learn a lot about the tea you are about to consume before you even taste it. Happy sipping!