History Of Tea

Tea was already mentioned in Chinese Literature as far back as 2700BC.
500 AD Buddhist Monks took leaf tea to Japan. 621 AD Buddhism was declared the major religion and green tea became the nation’s drink. In the 17th Century, tea reached the European landmarks via the famous Dutch East Indian Line. Following that, the English established their East Indian Line and created a tea monopoly for many years.

Camellia sinensis, the common tea plant, was first cultivated in the 4th century CE, after wild specimens were brought to China from India. Actually an evergreen tree which may grow up to 50 feet, the domesticated plant is pruned to a bush like state and kept at a height of five feet. After three to five years of growth, its leaves may be harvested to make tea. Today, women constitute the majority of pickers, and there is no machine that can exceed the 60 to 70 pounds of leaves per day that an experienced worker can collect. 60 to 70 pounds of fresh leaves can be produced app. 20 pounds of dry tea, or 2800 cups of tea.

All classes of tea, apart from the Rooibos tea, which grows in South Africa, come from the same plant. Different classes of tea (e.g. Black tea, Green tea) are the result of differences in the tea manufacturing process, and not due to different types of tea plants. However, from experience, tea manufacturers have discovered that certain varieties, locations and seasons tend to produce tea plants, which produce better qualities of certain classes of tea.