Tea is one of the most popular and well-loved drinks in the world. The reasons are very simple: It is delicious to enjoy and brings a lot of health benefits to our body and our mind. There are two main types of tea. The first type is traditional tea, which is made from the Camellia sinensis plant. The second type is the herbal tea. It is made from other plants such as peppermint, chamomile, and lavender.
It is quite convenient to buy ready-made tea bags and dried tea leaves from your local supermarket. However, if you like to grow your tea, you will be happy to know that it is also a very simple thing to do.
This article will discuss in more detail about the importance of tea. Also, it will show you how to grow your own tea, especially the Camellia sinensis plant. How to harvest tea leaves and make fresh and dried from them are also discussed here.
Why should you drink tea?
Tea is packed with antibacterial and antioxidant compounds. For example, green tea is full of polyphenols such as catechins and flavonoids. These antioxidant elements are strong and protective against the harm of free radicals. As a result, the risk of getting cancer is reduced, and the speed of the aging process is slowed down.
Also, tea helps to control the level of bad cholesterol, prevent diabetes and reduce the risk of getting a heart failure.
Another important benefit of tea is that it helps to detoxify your body as well as supporting the natural cleansing process of our body. When you consume other herbal teas such as lemongrass, ginger, and milk thistle teas, they will further support and enhance the performance of our organs. Especially, it gives great support to the livers and intestines- the crucial body’s parts in charge of cleansing and detoxifying our body.
Moreover, tea is a great drink for you to take when you want to lose weight. This is because this drink speeds up the fat burning process and support the metabolism.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that tea contains a just enough amount of caffeine to keep you awake. You might also feel fully alerted and better focused, in comparison with the effect of drinking coffee.
The benefits of having your tea garden
There are two reasons why you should grow your tea.
First, you would be able to make a cup of tea whenever you like. Imagine that it is cold outside and you’re craving for a cup of hot tea but find out that you have no tea bag left. See how inconvenient and unhappy the situation is.
It is much more convenient as you can pick up some tea leaves right away and boil them to make a perfect cup of tea.
Second, you would never be sure about the quality of the tea you buy from a supermarket. However, you are more certain about what you use to grow your tea plant. Therefore, if you care about your health and wellbeing and your family members’, growing your tea plant is a better option.
How to grow your own tea
As mentioned above, this article will give you information on how to grow the original tea plant. There are also many plants and herbs such as peppermint, chamomile, and lavender, which you can grow to make herbal tea.
Prepare the tea plant
The tea plant can be grown provided that you live in a warm climate. However, under your best attention and care, it can even survive the snow season. Just remember to move it to a more sheltered place to protect the root from coldness. A tea plant can live in a sunny area as well as a shady one.
If you live in a cold area, it is better to go with the Sinensis plant. On the other hand, if you live in a warm climate, you can opt for the assamica plant. It can thrive well under the heat.
It would take about 2 to 3 years for the tea plants to be fully grown from seeds. So if you want to enjoy it soon, it is better to start growing these plants now. Alternatively, you can buy a well establish Camellia sinensis plant and repot it in the spring for a quicker harvesting time. You can also cut a branch from an existing tree and plant it in your garden or into a pot.
Prepare the soil
You can grow the tea plant in your outdoor garden. Provided that you live in an extremely cold place, you can grow your tea plant in a container and put it indoor.
The soil that the Camellia sinensis plant needs are the one with a high level of acidity and good drainage. Therefore, make sure you buy soil which is used for specific acid loving plants and mix some grit and bark into the soil.
How to harvest your tea
The best time to harvest tea leaves is in the early morning, just after the sun has risen or when the dew on these leaves has just dried.
Spring and summer are also the best seasons to collect tea leaves as the young leaves start to appear and grow during these seasons.
Also, the best part of the tea plants for making tea is the two youngest tea leaves on the top of each branch. Remember to pick up the bud as well.
If you use fertilizers and pesticides on your tea plants, make sure you read the instructions on these products. In my opinion, you should do this for the waiting time between their use and the time you can harvest these tea leaves.
How to brew your tea
After you collect a pile of fresh tea leaves and buds, wash them gently. There are two main ways in which you can enjoy your tea- using fresh and dried tea leaves. Fresh tea leaves bring more health benefits and nutrition than enjoying dried tea leaves. However, the latter are easier to store and bring more strong flavors.
The first method is to enjoy fresh tea leaves
To begin with, you can put these leaves inside a steamer or a pot of boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. Make sure that the tea leaves are not cooked. The best result you should aim to get is light to slightly dark green colored tea leaves.
When your teas leave turn to that color, turn off the pan and bring these leaves under cold running water. This way, you can prevent the leaves from being cooked.
After that, you can crush these leaves and roll them into the shape of a long cigar by using your fingers or your palms. Therefore, it will be easy to release more flavors from the leaves.
Drop these leaves into a hot cup of water and wait for about 2 to 3 minutes for the full tastes and flavors to release.
The second method is to enjoy dried tea leaves
You might have heard about green tea, black tea, and Oolong tea. They come from the same tea plant, but different ways of processing and drying those tea leaves lead to different flavors, hence, the different names.
To make green tea, you need to first prepare the tea leaves like what you have done in the first method.
After boiling and crushing those leaves, you can place them in a warm oven to dry them. Set the oven at 100 degrees and dry these leaves inside for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn them after 5 minutes.
Finally, turn off the oven and bring these leaves out for them to cool down. You now have dried tea leaves. Then, you can put into a cup of hot water for an instant tasty cup of green tea.
To make black tea, you need to crush fresh just picked tea leaves on your palms and spread them evenly on a tray. Place this tray in a cool place and wait for 2 to 3 days until these leaves are fully dry.
To make Oolong tea, you first need to place fresh tea leaves under the sunlight for 30 minutes. Then place these leaves in the shade for about 9 to 10 hours. Use your fingers to roll these leaves into small round shapes and place them in an airtight container for later use.
These dried tea leaves can be consumed right away or stored in an airtight container.
When enjoying your tea, you can add some sugar or honey and milk for sweetening.
Some final tips on growing your tea
- Keep the pot or container of your tea plant moist all the time by filling the top of the soil with bark.
- It is better to feed your plants with rainwater rather than the water from your water system.
- You can also harvest the flowers which appear in the autumn and dry them to add to your tea later on. These dried flowers help to enhance the taste of your tea significantly.
Tea is a very healthy choice of drink which can help to detoxify your body and slow the process of aging. With a tea garden of your own, you can make a cup of tea whenever you want. Also, you can totally make sure that you have the best quality and safest tea leaves.
I hope with all of the information above; you would know how to grow your own tea and make your delicious tea anytime you want without any difficult at all.