Tea comes from a plant called Camellia Sinensis. Almost all tea comes from Camellia Sinensis and the rest comes from an obscure Camellia species such as Camellia Taliensis. We tend to confuse ourselves and refer to Rooibos as tea, Yerba mate tea or even herbal infusions as tea. Sorry to break it but this is simply wrong. If your hot or cold beverage does not include camellia sinensis plant, then you cannot refer to it as tea!
There are mainly 2 original “varieties” in tea - Sinensis (smaller leaves also referred to as china) and Assamica (larger leaves). Another variety called Cambodia is thought to be a hybrid of Sinensis and Assamica but it is rarely used to make high quality tea.
Sub varieties or cultivars are simply cultivated by propagation or VP (Vegetative propagation) VP is when you take the cuttings of the plants to ensure an identical genetic make-up is achieved. Vegetative propagated plants have a higher leaf yield in comparison to seedling planting method. Seedling is when you use original seeds to grow your tea bush. These bushes are naturally strong and can grow in very harsh weather conditions may it be cold or dry seasons.
When you are next on your #teatravels investigating a tea bush the least that you should know is if it is a Sinensis or Assamica variety but at Great Tea Street we strive to give you both the subvariety or cultivar. This has a huge influence on the flavour and qualities of the tea.
Find below a link to our socials and a photo of a tea plant Camellia Sinensis during our tea travels! Can you guess the variety?