What if I told you there’s NO green tea plant?
Wait a minute….That’s not possible!
Well, yes, it has to come from somewhere otherwise we couldn’t drink it but it’s not from a green tea plant.
That’s because all tea originate from the same plant: the Camellia sinensis and its leaves are the “tea”. What makes one tea different from another is the processing the leaves have undergone after plucking.
There are three main varieties of tea, namely green tea, black tea, and oolong tea. If you want to know how they are processed, go to what is green tea.
Now if you want to save money and limit the pesticide intake you should definitely try to grow your own “green tea plant”!
Don’t worry, it’s not only for people with a garden or for people living in a tropical climate (in which the Camellia sinensis thrives best), a balcony or a greenhouse will be just fine (just make sure you protect it from freezing temperatures).
If you are extremely impatient growing a Camellia sinensis is probably not for you because you shouldn’t pluck it until the plant is around three years old. Then again, if you are impatient but open to buying this plant from the local nursery (or online) instead of growing it from seed, the problem’s solved!
How to grow a “green tea plant”
- If you have a garden (and some room left), plant it in a well-drained, sandy soil and in either full or part shade for the best result.
- If you want to grow the plant in a container, add some moss to the potting mix and occasionally add fertilizer.
When it’s hot outside water the plant frequently to keep the soil moisturized.
After waiting for ages (three years if you did grow it from the seed) the leaves are ready to be plucked. When doing this, pick the top three leaves and buds of a growing tip; these are the youngest tea leaves and buds which are used for green tea. You can harvest every ten days during the growing season for a total of 7-10 pickings.
Leave them to dry, in the shade, for several hours.
Once dry, you can either steam the leaves from the so-called green tea plant for about a minute or heat them in a pan to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (or 260 degrees Celsius) for 15 minutes. A third way is to roast them in a pan for two minutes which will provide a different flavor to green tea. Make sure you keep the pan moving to prevent burning.
The next step is to dry the leaves by placing them in an oven at a maximum of 250 degrees Fahrenheit (or 120 degrees Celsius) for about 20 minutes.
Finally, put the dried leaves in an air-tight container and store it in a cool and dark place.