Ever thought of growing your own? It’s not that difficult, especially with tea, as it is a species of camellia and can be grown in many parts of New Zealand. Tea has been drunk for about 3000 years and has many medicinal properties including being antibacterial and an antioxidant.
Tea (Camellia sinensis) is a native of China and if not kept pruned will grow into a ten metre tree. The main commercial variety, Camellia sinensis assamica, comes from Indo-China, Thailand, Assam and southern China. As an ornamental, the tea has lovely shiny leaves and 25cm, fragrant white flowers, occurring in clusters of up to three, with many anthers and yellow stamens. The tea we drink is made from the young growing tips, harvested during the growing season. Green tea is made by withering the picked tips in hot air, after which they are pan-fried to halt the oxidation. With black tea the tips are fermented in a cool, dark room until they are black then dried.