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Grow & Brew Your Own Tea

A good cup of tea can help you calm down, warm up and feel better. Add lemon and honey to it, and it’s great for a sore throat. Add mint or verbena and it’ll help calm an upset stomach, and if you need to relax, brew some chamomile. Teas and infusions have been part of civilization for thousands of years and variations exist all over the world. But why settle for processed tea when you can easily grow your own fresh tea at home?

The tea plant:

The tea plant is a species of the Camellia plant - a favorite amongst gardeners as it flowers in the fall and winter, producing beautiful flowers. Most kinds of tea are produced from the subspecies Camellia sinensis, including white, green, oolong and black tea.

Growing camellias:

One subspecies, the Camellia sinensis var. sinensis, thrives in sunny and partly-shaded environments. It can be grown in a pot, but make sure it’s in a location that will protect the roots from severe temperatures. To make it easy to harvest, prune its height at around three feet (1m), or just let it grow naturally (it will become a large shrub or even a small tree). The soil needs to be well drained, slightly acidic and rich in humusFor planting, refer to the standard advice of "Dig the planting hole twice as large as the root ball and one and one-half times as deep". As for watering – camellias prefer a soil with some moisture, but that doesn’t mean wet soil, so make sure to water well depending on the weather conditions. During the blossoming period, be extra attentive with watering, as under-watering will yield smaller flowers. (You can dry the white camellia flowers and add them to the tea, giving it extra flavor.)

Harvesting & Preparation:

 

Black tea Harvesting Preparation Brewing
Pluck the newly grown young leaves and leaf buds
  • Roll the leaves in your palms or with rolling pin, crush until leaves start to darken and turn red.
  • Spread on a tray, and leave a cool location for 2-3 days.
  • Spread on a baking pan and dry in the oven at 250°F (120°C) for 20 minutes.
Brew in
200-212°F
(90-100°C)
for 3-5 minutes.
Green tea Harvesting Preparation Brewing
Pluck the newly grown young leaves and leaf buds
  • Dry leaves with napkin and let them dry in the shade for about 3-4 hours in the heat of the day. 
  • Steam leaves for a minute (for a different flavor roast them in a skillet for 2 minutes).
  • Spread leaves on a pan and dry in the oven at 250°F (120°C) for 20 minutes.
Brew in
160-180°F
(70-80°C)
for 1-3 minutes.
Oolong tea Harvesting Preparation Brewing
Pluck the newly grown young leaves and leaf buds
  • Spread leaves on a towel in the heat of the sun, let dry for 45 minutes.
  • Bring leaves inside and let sit at room temperature for 4 hours, mix leaves every hour.
  • When the edges of the leaves will start to turn red, spread on a baking pan and dry in the oven at 250°F (120°C) for 20 minutes.
Brew in
185-205°F
(85-95°C)
for 2-6 minutes.
White tea Harvesting Preparation Brewing
Pluck young buds the day before they unfurl into leaves
  • Allow the buds and leaves to wither in direct sunlight, then quickly air dry to prevent oxidation.
Brew in 160-190°F (70-90°C) for 2-5 minutes.

Health benefits:

Green tea – Rich in antioxidants, which prevent the growth of various kinds of cancer. Prevents clogging of arteries, burns fat, improves cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of stroke, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Black tea – Protects the lungs from damage caused by cigarette smoke and can prevent strokes.

White tea – Potent anticancer properties.

Oolong tea – Helps lower bad cholesterol levels.

 

  • Add the following herbs to your tea for extra healthy benefits:
Name Mint Lemon Verbena Rose Geranium Artemisia Capillaries
Benefits Rich in antioxidants, reduces cold symptoms, helps with indigestion and IBS. Rich in antioxidants, reduces fever, antibacterial, eases muscle-cramps, soothes the digestive system. Aids in relaxation, soothes the digestive system, reduces headaches and muscle cramps.

Helps digestion problems, eases menstrual-related pain and bleeding, and has antibacterial properties.

Source

 
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Related Topics: Plants, Guide, Grow, Tea, Oolong, Camellia
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