Tea is a plant that is primarily cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world. The two main varieties of tea plants are Camellia sinensis var. sinensis and Camellia sinensis var. assamica, which are native to China and India, respectively.
Tea cultivation begins with the planting of tea seeds or cuttings. The seeds are usually sown in seedbeds and then transplanted to the field when they are large enough. Tea cuttings are planted directly into the field. Both seeds and cuttings are planted in well-drained soil with a pH between 5 and 6.5. The plants are spaced about 1 meter apart and are grown in rows with a spacing of about 2 meters between rows.
Tea plants typically take 3-4 years to reach maturity and begin producing leaves suitable for plucking. The plants are pruned regularly to encourage bushier growth and to maintain the desired height. The leaves are plucked by hand and are generally harvested every 7-10 days, depending on the variety of tea and the weather conditions.
After plucking, the leaves are processed to make different types of tea. The most common types of tea are green tea, black tea, oolong tea, white tea, and dark tea. The process of making tea starts with withering, which is the process of allowing the leaves to dry out and lose moisture. This is followed by rolling or shaping, which helps to release the juice and enzymes in the leaves. The leaves are then fermented or oxidized to create the desired flavor and color. After this, the leaves are dried and sorted to remove any debris or damaged leaves.
Tea cultivation is a labour-intensive process that requires skill and experience. The quality of the tea depends on many factors such as the variety of tea plant, the soil and climate, and the processing methods used. It is also a sustainable crop that can be grown in harmony with the environment, which is also a big plus.
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