Mizell's Camellia Hill Nursery

Camellia Sinensis 

History

Tea dates back to 2737 B.C. when it was discovered by Emperor Shen Nung.  It is said that after a long day he made a fire under a tree to heat some water and some leaves from the tree fell into the pot.  He felt refreshed and more awake after drinking the bitter and sweet drink.  The first European writings on tea show up in the 1560's when the British and Dutch started exporting it.  The first time tea was imported to the U.S. was in 1650 by the Dutch.  Camellia sinensis was also the first genus of camellia to enter the U.S. in 1744.


General Information

Tea can be grown anywhere camellias grow.  Like a sasanqua they can take full sun, but planting them in shade is ok also.  They like well drained acidic soil.


Pruning & Harvesting

The tea is produced from the new growth of the plant, for example the first two leaves and unopened leaf bud.  In the early harvesting season leave at least one leaf on new shoots.  Plucking stimulates the plants to produce new shoots, so you can harvest again in about two week by doing this.


Preparing Tea

Preparing Green Tea

· Pluck the newly grown young leaves and leaf buds in early spring

· Dry the leaves with a napkin or cloth and let the leaves dry in the shade for about 3 to 4 hours in the heat of the day

· Dice the leaves with kitchen knife so they look more like your used to seeing prepared tea leaves

· Steam the leaves for about a minute or for a different flavor roast them in a skillet for 2 minutes instead

· Spread the leaves out on a pan and dry in the oven at 250* F for 20 minutes

· Either store the leaves for later in an air tight container or make a cup and taste test

Preparing Black Tea

· Pluck the very youngest leaves and leaf buds

· Roll the leaves between your hands or with a rolling pin and crush them until the leaves start to darken and turn red

· Spread them out on a tray, and leave them in a cool location for 2-3 days

· Spread the leaves on a baking pan and dry in the oven at 250*F for 20 minutes

· Either store the leaves for later in an air tight container or make a cup and taste test

Preparing Oolong Tea

· Pluck the newly grown young leaves and leaf buds in early spring

· Spread them out on a towel in the heat of the sun and let them dry for about 45 minutes

· Bring your leaves inside and let them sit at room temperature for about 4 hours, mixing the leaves around every hour

· Preheat oven to 250*F

· The edges of the leaves will start to turn red as they begin to dry

· Spread the leaves on a baking pan and dry in the oven for 20 minutes

· Either store the leaves for later in an air tight container or make a cup and taste test


A handful of leaves will dry down to produce a six ounce cup of tea.



Black Tea Benefits

Black tea is a type of tea that is more oxidized than other varieties of tea.  Plain black tea is rich in antioxidants and has numerous health benefits.  It can help with bad cholesterol levels, digestive problems, tooth decay, high blood pressure, and poor blood circulation to name a few.  Black tea can easily be made fresh at home using the camellia sinensis leaves!