It all starts with an evergreen plant called Camellia Sinensis, which has 2 original subspecies, one from China and one from India.
The plant will grow to a tree if it is not pruned – there are ancient trees more than 100ft high in Yunnan - it flowers with delicate creamy petals, a little like an orange plant and the mature leaves are thick and shiny.
Camellia Sinensis Sinensis [the Chinese plant] likes the cooler temperatures found in higher altitudes [these were the bushes planted by the East India Company in Darjeeling foothills of the Himalayas] and they a productive life of about 100 years. The Indian ‘Assamica’ prefers the hot and humid conditions of the plains of the Brahmaputra River of Assam and has a shorter life.
Find out more about where tea is grown.