How Is Tea Made?

The tea plant grows mainly in the Far East, with India leading the world in production.

These plants are raised from seeds produced by the white flowers on the plants. They are grown on large farms called tea gardens.

When the tea plant is from three to five years old and about three to four feet high, it is ripe enough for its leaves to be picked. Workers, called tea pluckers, pick the leaves and send them to a factory for processing.

First, the leaves are spread out on shelves called withering racks, where air is blown over them to dry them.

Next, the leaves are put through rolling machines to press out their juices, and then into a fermenting room, where controlled humidity and temperature chemically change them to a coppery color.

The last step is the drying out of the leaves in an oven, where they turn a brownish-black color.

Great Britain, where tea is the national drink, imports about 500 million pounds of tea each year, or enough to make 100 billion cups of tea.