tea tree

Tea 1.jpg

tea tree

by Morning Sun's Jack Stafford

I was told that I could share a topic that I hold dear to my heart here on the Morning Sun Blog, and for my first blog post: tea!

Out of all the beverages in the world, tea is the most iconic.  With many different flavors and combinations it is the most widely consumed beverage in the world.  In fact, Americans alone consumed a total of 3.8 billion gallons in 2016.   The origin of tea dates back to the 3rd century A.D during the Shang dynasty where it was used medicinally.  After that, it was introduced to England during the 16th century where it became very popular among every social class, including the colonies in America. 

Camellia Sinensis, otherwise known as tea tree, is used for many different types of tea.  From one variety of plant, tea farmers can make black, white, green, and oolong tea.  It all has to do with the harvest and processing of the leaves.  If the leaves dry quickly either in the hot sun or in a frying pan, black tea is made.  If the tea is dried more slowly, less oxidation occurs and the tea holds less caffeine. This method creates a lighter tea, such as green or white.  Furthermore, the amount of sun the plant receives before harvest also affects taste and caffeine content. 

Now let’s begin discussing how to grow your own tea!  It is best grown in zones 7-9, but can be grown indoors or in a greenhouse:

  1. Soak the seeds in water for 24-36 hours: the seeds that sink are more likely to be viable.

  2. After soaking, allow the seeds to dry slowly by misting occasionally, and once cracked they are ready to be planted.

  3. Plant the seeds an inch deep in medium organic potting soil.

  4. Place them in a shady place, and the seeds will take about a month to germinate.

  5. Keep the soil damp, but not soaked!

  6. After the seeds sprout, slowly move them into the sunlight. 

Tea starts to produce enough leaves for harvest in about three years.  Although they may take awhile to grow, the process of growing tea can be meditative and rewarding.   I highly suggest you try growing this historical and delicious plant for yourself.

And remember

“For all the times your heart is weary and your bones are aching, there will always be a cup of tea to melt your pain away”