Information about: Tea

Index | Tea

Note: Information is dated. Do not rely on it.

Tea. A small tree, reaching the height sometimes of thirty feet, whose leaves when properly handled become the tea of commerce. To increase the leaf production, the tree is pruned to the form of a much branching shrub from two to four feet high. It is propagated from seed sown in the fall in shaded seed beds, and after a year is transferred to the field. The first crop is ready to pick in the third year, and the full crop is established about five years after planting. The plant is cut back about the seventh year to induce the growth of young shoots, which produce better leaves, and by repeating this pruning at intervals the plant is made to produce for many years. Japan, including Formosa, produces the most tea; China ranks second in production, and India and Ceylon third. Some tea is now grown in South Carolina. The difference between green and black tea is due to a difference in the process of manufacture. The leaves are wilted and allowed to ferment before they are subjected to a firing process in the manufacture of black tea. In making green tea the leaves are roasted in pans for five minutes as soon as gathered, and then rolled in the hands and subjected to further drying. The tea is an evergreen tree. Formerly nearly all the work of manufacturing tea was done by hand; but in more recent times the use of machinery has greatly increased, avoiding personal contact and reducing expense.