Sunday, May 04, 2008

Ideal tea habitat

What is the ideal habitat for tea trees? Camellia Sinensis are sub-tropical plants prefer hot and humid conditions. Tea trees start to spring out those lusious flavorful buds around 10c, slow growing under this temperature. Between 10c to 15c, leaves begin to open, around 15c to 20c, growth is fast and reaches the maximum growth when temperature is between 20c to 35c. Tea trees actually stop growing when temperature is beyond 35c. During winter, tea trees hibernate when temperature drops below 10c. As plants mutate to adopt local climates (takes up to hundreds years), different varietals has different tolerance of cold temperature. Some trees can survive in temperatures as low as -12c.

Tea plants love humidity and lots of rain. An average annual rainfall of 1.5 meters or 60 inches is ideal for replenishing water content after each picking.

Up to 95% of the organic materials in a tea leaf require the conversion by light. Infra red light can be easily absorbed by tea leaves, especially at elevation of 500 meters to 800 meters, clouds are dense, indirect infra red lights are best for tea plants. Leaves are tender, meaty, and highly aromatic. Direct sunlight with high temperature speeds up growth, leaves matures fast, polyphenol level increases, hence summer teas are more bitter then other seasons.

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