To start with, you need to understand what makes the ideal climate for tea plants.
It must be between 70 and 90% relative humidity.
The higher the relative humidity, the more favorable it’s for the growth of young leaves and buds, while low humidity hinders the growth of the shoots.
High humidity and ample precipitation are crucial for tea growers, who also depend on dry periods for plucking.
Climate is largely a function of geography.
Tea is grown best in regions with acidic soil and high rainfall, although it can thrive in many climates.
Tea requires a warm climate with at least four and a half months of rain a year. In addition, it requires a high amount of water, and irrigation can help plants get the water they need.
In addition, late spring and early fall can be very dry, and the plants may suffer from stress before they are established.
The climate where tea plants grow greatly influences the quality of the finished product.
During the growing and processing process, plants undergo chemical changes that determine the quality of the finished product.
For example, the length of days and distance from the sun change with latitude. Whether or not a region has distinct seasons also affects the growing conditions of tea.
Tea production is most concentrated in China, India, and Sri Lanka, with very small amounts in continental U.S.
To cultivate tea, the soil where they are planted is crucial. Tea plants prefer well-drained soil. Bogs are often very damp throughout the year.
If this is the case, it is unlikely that you will grow tea. However, heavy clay soils are great for growing tea.
Tea plants require efficient movement of water from the subsoil layer, which is at least 6 feet below the surface. To make sure that your soil is able to handle this amount of water, you will need to break up the clay with a subsoiler.
While tea plants can grow in almost any climate, they flourish in climates with at least 100 cm of rainfall each year. They also grow well in deep, light soil that is acidic and well-drained.
Tea is also known to grow at high elevations, from sea level to about 2,100 metres.
These conditions make tea a versatile crop. As tea plants are grown around the world, the soil where they grow is crucial to the quality of the tea.
Climate change has a significant impact on the tea industry, affecting tea quality and yield.
Increased precipitation and drought can reduce quality, and farmers may lose income if tea crops do not produce as much as expected.
This study validates farmer perceptions that climate change will negatively impact tea quality and yield, and supports higher prices for spring tea.
However, climate deviations can also benefit early-season tea plants. Keep in mind that this research has limitations and is not a cure-all for climate change impacts.
The harvesting process begins with plucking the top two or three leaves from each growing tip. Picking the leaves at this stage of development is best accomplished when the leaves are soft and unfurling.
After that, the leaves are dried and stored in airtight containers. The leaves are usually processed and packaged in different ways, depending on the type of tea they are.
For example, green tea is minimally processed, while white tea and black tea undergo a more elaborate process to make it richer and smoky.
Types & Varieties of Tea Plants
The study of tea plant genetics has revealed that there are several distinct types of the plant.
Genetic analysis of tea plants shows that these plants contain at least three chromosomes, which is more than those of coffee and cocoa.
Moreover, tea plants exhibit both intraspecific and interspecific variation, which may be due to hybridization or polyploidization. Hence, tea varieties are considered unique and important to the tea industry.
The study of tea genetics also shows that the existence of a single species has the ability to influence the genetic diversity of a population.
The tea industry has suffered from monocultures because these plants are susceptible to disease and weakening over time.
To prevent such threats, new varieties of tea are developed by selecting the best individuals from seed-grown populations. Unfortunately, most tea farms worldwide are planted with genetically identical monocultures.
Since tea plants are perennial woody plants with long growth cycles, traditional cross-breeding is difficult and time-consuming.
Many existing tea varieties are derived from natural populations. Modern transgenic breeding technology has given tea farmers a new solution for the problem of molecular design of breeding strategies.
However, tea plant genetics remain poorly understood, preventing them from fully exploiting their potential in modern molecular breeding.
Harvesting by hand
Harvesting tea by hand is a traditional way to harvest this tea. It involves carefully plucking the young top leaves, as well as a portion of the stem and the so-called bud, or unexpanded leaf at the end of a shoot.
The process is called tea flushing and the leaves can range from two to five in number. After a tea plant has been harvested, it needs to be pruned again to promote new shoots and maximize production.
Although hand plucking may seem like a labor-intensive task, it has several advantages. While machine harvesting is more efficient, hand plucking is still necessary for quality tea.
Hand picking also prevents the leaves from being damaged prior to processing.
Several cultivars of the Camellia sinensis plant are commonly grown for green tea, while the assamica variety is considered more suitable for black tea.
High-elevation teas require a particular growing and manufacturing process to achieve their desired characteristics. Lower-elevation teas may be more easily available but are often underpriced.
This is because tea plants that are grown at lower elevations have more space to grow along the base of a hill.
The plants are treated with special care to ensure they are as close to the perfection of the tea as possible.
Soil conditions vary greatly. At sea level, soil is more fertile than that at high elevations.
Farmers do not want to lug around giant bags of fertilizer up the giant slope. However, the high-elevation soils that are ideal for growing tea plants are not as well-balanced as soils at lower elevations.
This may be due to human intervention and the presence of other elements in the area.
Climate conditions are also affected by the elevation where tea plants grow. Plants at higher altitudes receive cooler temperatures and more precipitation.
At higher altitudes, the amount of rainfall and temperature variation is greater, while the amount of oxygen is smaller.
Higher-elevation tea grows in less oxygen-rich conditions. This results in higher-quality tea with richer, more complex flavors. Moreover, higher-elevation teas have lower levels of caffeine and higher chlorophyll content.
Camellia sinensis var. assamica
All true tea is made with leaves harvested from a single plant species called Camellia sinensis. Colloquially, the word “tea” is often used to refer to many herbs and botanicals that are brewed with hot water, although these plants are not technically tea.
The best place to plant Camellia sinensis var assamica is in a warm climate, such as the tropics.
Although it will tolerate colder temperatures if grown in containers, it must be brought indoors during harsh weather and hard frosts. In the winter, the plant will require pruning to shape and size. If left unpruned, the plant will grow to a full height.
This ancient plant has been consumed for hundreds of years. In fact, archeological studies show that tea was drunk more than two thousand years ago.
Originally from northeast India and southwest China, the camellia sinensis tree now grows in many countries around the world.
It’s primarily grown in Asia, but you can also grow tea in Australia, the Caribbean, and the United States.
The most common tea plant species is Camellia sinensis, which grows wild in Asia and is native to Asia and the Pacific Rim. It is a small tree or shrub but is typically trimmed to about two meters to harvest its leaves.
Tea can be made in different ways, from steamed green tea to oxidized black tea. Regardless of the method, you’re sure to enjoy the taste of fresh, homegrown tea.
Assamica var. assamica
Camellia Sinensis var. Assamica is a native of Asia but was once thought to be endemic to the Assam region of northeastern India.
This plant grows up to 20 feet tall and is hardy and tolerant of high altitudes. Unlike its sinensis cousin, Assamica produces larger, richer leaves than its cousin.
The composition of free AAs in nine cultivars varied significantly. The highest yield was found in ‘Large Leaf’, followed by ‘Dave’s Fave’ and ‘Black Sea’.
In contrast, the lowest yield was found in ‘Christine’s Choice’, which had the lowest average fresh leaf weight, and ‘Assamica var. assamica’.