Camellia Sinensis... All 'true' teas come from this simple tea plant

To the tea enthusiast, 'tea' is any tea derived from the Camellia sinensis tea plant (no herbal teas or 'tisanes' allowed). This simple tea bush gives us the second most widely consumed and enjoyed beverage in the world - our beloved tea.

And, thanks to countless tea varieties and tea health benefits, teas from the tea plant are becoming more and more popular with a whole new generation of tea lovers worldwide.

What is Camellia sinensis?

Camellia sinensis is the Latin name for the tea plant, an evergreen bush or small tree found in tropical and sub-tropical locations around the world.

Its dark green, elongated leaves, which range from 1/4 inch to 10 inches in length, are used to make all 'true' teas - meaning black, green, pu-erh, yellow, oolong, and white teas. (The tea plant does have flowers and fruit, too, but only the leaves and young leaf shoots or buds are used to produce tea.)

Camellia sinensis

The bud and first two or three leaves are preferred for tea - younger and lighter in color, they produce a finer quality tea.

All 'True' Teas come from the Tea Plant

If you've tasted two or three (or more) of the different teas from the tea bush, it can be difficult to believe they all come from the same plant! In fact, when tea first made its way to the Western world, tea drinkers believed that black tea and green tea came from two distinct plants.

The secret behind the different tea types was protected for many years, but now we know that the tea plant is the source of the entire 'true' tea family. It's what happens to the tea leaves and leaf buds after they are harvested (the processing steps) that determines which tea type is created.

Kukicha Tea

The stems, stalks, and twigs of Camellia sinensis are used for one type of tea - Japanese Kukicha tea (a.k.a. 'twig tea'), which has a mild, nutty, sweet flavor.

Where does the Tea Plant Grow?

The tea bush flourishes in hot, humid tropical and sub-tropical climates with rich soil and plenty of sun and rain. Tea plants thrive in higher elevations, as well. Although the tea plant grows more slowly in higher altitudes, the resulting tea is high quality and very flavorful.

Camellia sinensis

From China and Japan to India and Africa to parts of South America and Indonesia, tea plantations and farms can be found in many countries around the world. In fact, the first commercial tea farm has just been started in Canada!

Tea Map

The Tea World Map below shows the tea-producing countries around the world.

Camellia sinensis

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You can read more about the tea plant here and, if you're particularly interested in the specific health benefits of teas from the tea bush, click here.

Teas from the tea plant are being discovered by a whole new generation, thanks to the amazing variety of flavorful teas now available to tea lovers, and to the multitude of tea health benefits recent scientific research and age-old wisdom have shared with us.

This simple tea plant provides us with the delicious, aromatic beverage so many of us love so dearly!

As Sydney Smith, English writer and clergyman, said, "Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea." Don't you agree?

More about Tea

What is Tea? - Learn more about the second most widely consumed beverage worldwide... tea! An introduction to and some basic facts about this beloved drink.

Camellia Sinensis - The simple tea plant - Camellia sinensis - gives us black, oolong, pu-erh, green, and white teas! Learn more about the tea plant - where it is grown, how tea is processed, and some of the health benefits this amazing plant can provide. 

Tea and Caffeine - Did you know that teas from the Camellia sinensis tea plant contain caffeine? If you love black, oolong, pu-erh, green, or white tea, drop by to learn more about caffeine in tea.

Making Tea - Some tips and guidelines for making the perfect cup of tea, including an infographic with brewing and serving suggestions for teas and herbal tisanes.

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