Tea has been grown and processed all over the world in much the same way for hundreds of years. Today, there are many types of tea and it’s a popular daily drink. Have you ever wondered how true tea gets to your cup?
What is ‘true’ tea?
All true teas come from the Camellia Sinensis plant. ‘True’ teas include Black Tea, Green Tea, White Tea and Oolong. Herbal teas are not considered to be ‘true’ teas.
How is tea processed?
After harvesting, tea leaves are sorted and oxidised according to what type of tea they will become. Green Tea is made from fresh green leaves that undergo minimal oxidation. White Tea is made from lightly oxidised buds. Black Tea leaves are fully oxidised, producing the characteristic dark colour. Tea types may be blended or have various flavourants added to create the final flavour.
People are central to the process of tea
It’s possible to successfully harvest tea leaves using a machine, but most tea producers still rely on hand harvesting to protect the leaves and ensure the finest quality. Sorting and rolling are also mostly done by hand, although packaging is these days done largely by machine. Most workers on tea farms worldwide are women.
Tea is a world traveller
Tea is grown all over the world, in more than 30 countries. The four largest producers and exporters of commercially grown tea are China, India, Kenya and Sri Lanka.
Your tea bags are likely made of wood and vegetable fibres
Some years ago, consumers raised concerns about the use of plastics and microplastics in tea bags. Most tea makers responded quickly by removing dyes and plastic residues from their tea bags. Lipton tea bags are made from manila hemp and cellulose fibres, and do not use a plastic-based glue. So you can enjoy your daily cup of tea knowing that your tea bag is compostable and planet-friendly.
Herbal Tea vs ‘True’ Tea
As we’ve noted, all ‘true’ teas are made from the leaves and buds of the Camellia Sinensis plant. Herbal teas, also known as tisanes, are prepared in the same way for drinking, by steeping in hot water, but they are made from the leaves, fruits, barks or flowers of other plants. Like Camellia Sinensis, these other plants release flavours and aromas when they are steeped. Some herbal ingredients may also be blended with tea leaves to create flavoured teas.
Lipton’s Tea Journey
Lipton has been producing some of the world’s finest teas since the 1800s. Today, Lipton teas are produced both on our own farms and on over 1,000 tea farms in collaboration with more than 600,000 small farmers worldwide. Collaborating in this way to support small farmers helps to promote sustainability in tea growing.
When you enjoy your daily cup of Lipton tea, remember that you are part of a network of people all over the globe who have applied their love of fine tea to producing this aromatic, delicious drink.