Life of a Tea Leaf

Tea leaves are obviously leaves from a plant of some sort. What plant do they come from, and how are they harvested?

Tea plants are short bushes that are grown in nurseries and then moved outdoors when they are large enough. The bushes are normally waist-high. The leaves are long and oval, sort of like a bay leaf. When harvesting, each company has its own method, but many use only the very top leaves for the best quality. This normally has to be done by hand.

The leaves are now dried, removing moisture with fans. Once they are dry, they are gently broken into pieces using a variety of techniques. Green tea is then finished with another drying, but oolong / black teas go through oxidation to further enhance flavor.

The tea is now graded as to size and quality of the leafs and leaf-bits, and sorted for use in bags, loose tea, or other options.

Green Tea Tips and Information
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