Tea is grown in countries with warm, humid climates, such as China, India, and Sri Lanka. The tea plant, Camellia sinensis, is a evergreen shrub that can grow to be several meters tall. However, for commercial tea production, the plants are pruned to around waist height.
Tea plants need well-draining soil and plenty of sunlight to grow properly. They are typically grown at elevations between 2,000 and 7,000 feet.
Tea plants are propagated by cuttings, which are planted in nursery beds and grown for about a year before being transplanted to the tea fields. Once in the fields, the tea plants are spaced about 3-4 feet apart and are regularly pruned to promote new growth and increase yield.
Tea leaves are harvested by hand, with workers carefully plucking the leaves from the plants. The tea leaves are then processed in a factory to remove moisture and preserve the flavor. The leaves are rolled and shaped, and then either left to dry or fired to stop the oxidation process. The end result is the tea that we know and love.
Photo by Katie Long Photography