The camellia sinensis is the shrub of choice by most growers for tea production. It must be because of its growth habit, which makes it best suitable for commercial production and of course its flavor.
From Tea Garden to Tea Pot
Other Camellia Varieties
Camellia Assamica: A Sad Tale of Two Countries
Tis true, every country on the face of God's green earth has been guilty of some sort of scandalous behavior, or occurrences they wished they never executed, or at least, I hope so. One such dubious happening, instigated by England toward China, over the trading of tea and other goods, is a prime example. I will attempt to over simplify this complicated trading affair. The xenophobic Chinese didn't want anything the British had to trade, except for silver. England was on the gold standard, so they had to exchange gold for silver with an exchange fee tacked on. This got to be too expensive as you can imagine, so instead of drinking more coffee, they traded Indian opium for tea. Can you imagine selling a narcotic to a foreign people, in trade for a commodity they produce, which you think you can't live without, only to find it grows naturally in a land you already posses, the land where the vice is grown? Talk about egg on your face! To this day it is an embarrassing smudge against the English upon the pages of its history.
Yes dear reader, unfortunately, the Brits enslaved the Chinese to Indian grown opium, because they were addicted to Chinese tea and other Chinese goods. A sordid state of affairs we humans can create for ourselves, due to the love of money, and the need to satisfy our fleshly lusts. So, the English historians chose to sanitize their nations' faux pas against humanity by calling these wars, the Anglo-Chinese Wars, instead of the more accurate and incriminating, Opium Wars. But, it's like I said, no country is free from this sort of evil behavior.
Thankfully, a native assamica variety of camellia was discovered growing in the northern regions of of India, in the upper Assam area in 1823. Assamica is considered to be a tree rather than a bush, due to its stature, which is anywhere from 15-60 ft. tall depending on the variety It took some time for Charles Bruce of the East Indian Trading Co. to convince his employers to make the switch. Nowadays, the British seem to prefer the leaves of the Assamica variety far more than the Sinensis variety native to China, go figure! But just as there are different varieties of camellia, there are also different varieties of tea one can get from the same camellia bush.
Types of Teas
There are at least 5 different kinds of tea in the world, that I know of anyway. There is white, green, oolong, pu-erh (sometimes known as 'red' tea in China), and black. Each type of tea requires different harvesting techniques, and processing treatments, isn't that amazing? I may cover each type of tea in future posts, but for now, I would love to know:
which is your favorite type of tea(s), and why?