Tea or Chai is the most widely drunk beverage in the whole world. The tea plant, Camellia Sansis, is a cultivated variety of a tree that has its origins in an area between India and China. There are three main varieties of the tea plant - China, Assam, and Cambodia - and a number of hybrids between the varieties. The China variety grows as high as nine feet (2.75 metres). It is a hardy plant able to withstand cold winters and has an economic life of at least 100 years.
The Assam variety, a single-stem tree ranging from 20 to 60 feet (6 to 18 metres) in height. Regular pruning keeps its height to a more manageable 4 to 5 feet tall. It has an economic life of 40 years with regular pruning and plucking. When grown at an altitude near that of Darjeeling (Assam) or Munnar (Kerala), it produces tea with fascinating flavours , sought after around the globe.
|MAIN SUB VARIETIES OF TEA|
|The tender light-leaved Assam|
|The less tender dark-leaved Assam|
|The hardy Manipuri and Burma types|
|The very large-leaved Lushai|
|The dark-leaved Assam plant from Upper Assam.|
The Cambodia variety, a single-stem tree growing to about 16 feet (five metres) in height, is not cultivated but has been naturally crossed with other varieties.