Camellia sinensis, a type of a tea plant, is used to make tea. There are 2 major types of variations that are grown, both used for tea. The only difference is, that both variations are used to produce different types of tea. For example, white tea, green tea, yellow tea, Oolong, black tea and Pu-erh tea are all produced from the same plant, just from one variation or the other. However, the main difference between all the different types of tea aside from the variation of Camellia sinensis, is the different levels of oxidation.
About Camellia sinensis
This is a native Asian plant which can grow up to 6 to 8 meters in height. It is an evergreen shrub and contains oblong-round leaves which are about 2 to 7 cm in width and 5 to 14 cm in height. The flowers that grow on this plant resembles a cherry blossom and are white and symmetrical, with a diameter of around 3 cm. This plant’s fruit contains around 1 or 2 seeds, and the seeds of Camellia oleifera and Camellia sinensis can produce tea oil, which is a sweet cooking oil and seasoning.
The young leaves of the plant are light green in color, which is what is preferably used to produce tea. The younger leaves also contain approximately 4% caffeine. The older leaves are dark green in color, and different ages of leaves are used to produce different types of tea, as the differing chemical compositions are what causes differences in tea qualities.
Camellia sinensis is mainly grown in subtropical and tropical climates, where there are at least 50 inches or 127 cm of rainfall every year. Since it is important to grow tea plants in optimal conditions, a rich ground with moist conditions are preferred. That said, some tea plants are also grown in places with high elevations, allowing them to grow slower than other tea plants and to acquire a richer flavor.
To prevent the tea plants from growing into trees, the plants a trimmed to waist height. This also eases the process of hand picking, as the leaves are handpicked every one or 2 weeks. Usually, the first 2 to 3 leaves and the bud are harvested for tea production. Tea plantation owners also have to be wary of the different types of tea diseases and the types of pest that eat the tea plants, as such as willow beauty or caterpillars.
Effects on health
Tea has been known to have certain health benefits, and it isn’t entirely wrong. Traditional Chinese medicine used tea leaves to cure asthma, peripheral artery disease, angina pectoris, and coronary heart disease. That said, overconsumption of caffeine can also occur because of the tea leaves, and the presence of oxalates and fluoride can have negative impacts on health.
There 2 main variations of the Camellia sinensis tea plant, both of which are responsible for the production of a variety of different teas.