Growing tea is by no means a quick and easy process, and plenty of time, care, and effort is put into producing a single batch of tea. Today we’re going to take you through the journey of growing, cultivating, and producing tea, so you can see exactly what it takes for you to sit at home and enjoy your favorite cup of tea.
Tea Growing and Cultivation
Tea is generally grown in cooler climates and in areas of the world that experience about forty inches of rain in a year. Tea needs acidic soil to grow to its full potential, and the higher the elevation of the land, the slower the tea will grow, resulting in a complex flavor. Tea today is primarily grown in India, China, Sri Lanka, Kenya, and Indonesia. While these countries may be known for their long history in tea production, loose leaf tea from Nepal has gained much interest in the past two centuries.
The tea plant takes part in a seeding process, which involves placing the seed in water for one to two days, which starts the germination procedure. After years of growing, tea is harvested for use as we consume it today. Throughout the year, Nepal grows tea which has a distinctive flavor depending on the time of year it’s harvested. This process is mainly completed by hand, as machines can ruin the quality of the tea. Nepali Tea Traders works with local farmers in Nepal where they treat their tea leaves as their babies, carefully handpicking and crafting premium teas.
Once the tea is harvested, it’s transported to a processing plant to begin the next stage of the production process. These centers are located right by the fields, as tea begins to oxidize as soon as it is picked. Oxidation is what creates a pure tea, which is when oxygen reacts with the tea leaves to change its taste or appearance. The process varies between each type of tea, with white tea receiving the least treatment, and green tea receiving only partial treatment. Oolong and black tea follow a similar production chain, but oolong tea is oxidized for a shorter time than black tea, which creates its unique taste. Stages included in this part of the process may include withering, yellowing, and shaping.
Tea is then dried out, which can be completed in two different ways. Leaves are either steamed or roasted, depending on the intended result and taste. Going through this process can be a fun way to understand the growing and production process that goes into your favorite loose leaf tea. Of course, some tea leaves are then taken from this stage to create tea bags, and that’s a whole additional step in the production chain.
To finish off the process, tea is then graded and tested before it’s packaged into the container. From there, it’s shipped off around the world and eventually makes its way to where you purchase your tea regularly. As you can imagine, this process from start to finish can take a while, so a lot of dedication and energy has been put into your cup of tea which has so many health benefits. The next time you enjoy a cup of tea, you’ll now appreciate the effort involved to get the tea leaves from the field to your home for you to consume.