Surprisingly enough, all tea comes from the same plant. It’s simply the plant’s environment and production treatment that create each tea’s individual characteristics.
Black, green, oolong and white teas all come from the warm-weather evergreen named camellia sinensis. The four teas’ differences result from various degrees of processing and oxidisation.
A typical black tea is oxidised for up to four hours and oolong teas are oxidised for two to three hours. Camellia sinesis leaves have a natural chemical reaction, resulting in changes to the tea plant’s look, taste and colour.
Green and white tea is not oxidised after processing, hence why the tea retains some of its natural colouring and composition of the fresh tea leaf.
Oolong tea is classed as being midway between black and green tea in strength and colour.
Mountainous regions are the perfect home for tea growing. Most tea is produced at an elevation of about 3,000 – 7,000 feet above sea level, in areas with mineral-rich soil between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Leading tea-producing countries include Argentina, China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania.