January 23, 2010

How to Grow & Harvest Your Own Green Tea Plant

Think it’s hard to produce your own green tea? Think again. Here’s how to grow and harvest your own tea plant.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could grow your own tea leaves at home? Not only would this save money but you’d also reduce your risk of exposure to pesticides which are often found as contaminants on green tea leaves.

Growing your own plant green tea isn’t as difficult as you might imagine. All of the non herbal teas are derived from the Camellia Sinensis plant. The difference in the taste and content of the teas lies in the way they’re processed after the plant is grown.

You don’t need much room to grow Camellia Sinensis, although you do need patience. The leaves of the plant shouldn’t be plucked to be used until the plant is around three years of age.

Although you can grow the tea plant from the seed, it’s far easier to propagate the plant from cuttings or to buy a nursery tree. You’ll want to plant your tea plant in sandy soil for best results. Your tea plant will do well with the addition of occasional amounts of fertilizer and should be watered frequently when the weather is warm. The addition of mulch will help to reduce weeds and maintain soil moisture which is desirable for the Camellia Sinensis plant.

Once your plant is established, you’ll want to start harvesting and processing your tea leaves. For green tea, it’s important to harvest only the youngest tea leaves and buds. This usually involves plucking the terminal 3 leaves plus the terminal bud. After plucking, allow the leaves to dry away from direct contact with the sun for several hours.

Once the leaves are dry, it’s time to steam or pan heat your green tea leaves. To pan heat the leaves, heat the leaves in a pan to a temperature of around 500 degrees F for 15 minutes while keeping the pan in continuous motion to prevent burning. They can be dried by placing them in an oven at a temperature of no more than 250 degrees F for around 10 minutes. The dried leaves can then be stored until you’re ready to use them. Be sure to store them in a sealable in a cool, dark place.

You can create different green tea flavors by adding dried fruits,herbs or edible flowers to your green leaves before steeping them. This method will give you an endless supply of ways to enjoy green tea. Growing your own tea plant to make your own green tea drinks can be quite rewarding. Why not give it a try?

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