How to grow own tea plant and which plants should be grown?
I like tea but its super expensive, loose leaf tea that is, what plants should be grown and how should they be prepared to make tea with?
- cazortLv 68 years agoFavorite Answer
Tea comes from the plant Camellia sinensis. Unfortunately, in most regions of the U.S, it is not a suitable climate to grow this plant. It needs a climate that has mild winters and is humid during most of the growing season. The only two regions that commercially grow tea are coastal South Carolina, and a small valley in Washington state near the coast. You can probably also grow the tea plant if you live along the gulf coast or in parts of Florida.
Growing herb tea is much easier. If you want a caffeinated drink, the most cold-hardy caffeinated drink is called Yaupon; it is a type of holly tree. It can produce a drink somewhat similar to Yerba Mate. You may be able to buy that at esoteric nurseries. In cold temperate climates like the northeast and upper midwest, the easiest herbs to grow for tea are mints, like spearmint, peppermint, lemon balm, and the like. If you want some more exotic or unusual herbal teas, I wrote a post where I explain four of my favorites, and talk a little about gardening: http://cazort.blogspot.com/2010/03/four-herbal-tea...
Growing herbs for tea is a great idea, BUT if you just want cheaper tea, there are other options.
* Tea looks expensive by weight but keep in mind you need very little leaf per cup. A pound of tea can easily brew up 150-200 cups, so if you spend $20 per pound that can be only 20 cents per cup of tea...cheaper than milk, juice, or coffee.
* You can buy very inexpensive teas in Ethnic import stores, such as Middle Eastern stores, Asian stores (Chinese, Japanese, etc.), Indian stores. Indian and Middle Eastern stores tend to have black teas, Chinese stores tend to have green and oolong teas, Japanese stores tend to only have green teas. I actually wrote a blog post about brands of loose-leaf tea that I bought in stores, that were really good deals:
* BUY ONLINE. Seriously...there are some really great places to get tea online, including very cheap tea. One of my favorite companies that has a very large catalogue and very reasonable prices is Upton Tea Imports. They have a wide range of prices, but they sell single-estate teas for as low as $5-7 for 125 grams (enough for about 50 cups). That's 50-70 cents a cup...for pretty high-end tea. They also have a few cheaper teas. ALSO, they sell samplers so you can try things (for as low as $1 for a sample that's enough to brew 5-8 cups) before buying a lot of it.
If you want ideas, want to read reviews, or want to learn more, I run a site, http://ratetea.net where anyone can review teas. You can read my reviews on the site (I'm Alex Zorach) or read others' as well. But Upton is a good place to start if you buy online.
Growing the tea plant can be fun, but you're unlikely to ever grow enough to drink more than a few cups of tea. Growing mint or other herbs, on the other hand, can get you an inexhaustible supply of fresh or dried herbs to brew herbal teas!
- spidermanLv 78 years ago
Tea is, as I'm sure you know, a species of Camellia - Camellia sinensis to be precise. I think you may have difficulty in obtaining particular strains of the shrub. The nurseryman who sells you the plant may offer suggestions. Assam Tea, Camellia sinensis var assamica is generally more popular that var chinensis, China Tea.
Like all Camellias it needs and acid soil (neutral should be ok). It may survive a light frost but ideally it requires a frost-free climate and a well-drained soil.