Tea is a drink made from dried leaves and flowers of plants. In the actual sense, this means the leaves of the tea bush, which grows in Southeast Asia and East Africa. It can grow up to 15 meters tall but is usually pruned to a height of 1 meter to make it easier to harvest.
The leaves of the tea plant contain caffeine, which is also found in coffee. Black or green tea is made from the dried leaves of the tea plant. But you can also make tea from other plants, for example, fruit tea or chamomile tea.
How is tea made?
Black and green tea are made from the same plant but are processed differently. For black tea, the leaves of the tea plant are left to wither, ferment and dry after harvesting. Fermenting is also called fermentation: The ingredients of the tea plant react with the oxygen in the air and form the typical aroma, color, and tannins. Additional fragrances are added to some types of tea, such as “Earl Grey”.
With green tea there is no fermentation, the leaves are dried immediately after withering. This keeps them lighter and milder in taste. White and yellow tea are special varieties that are prepared in a similar way.
All these types of tea only came to Europe from China in the 17th century. Tea used to be very expensive and only rich people could afford it. In many countries around the world, tea is still more popular than coffee.