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The Tea Plant
The tea plant is an evergreen of the Camellia family that is native to China, Tibet and northern India. There are two main varieties of the tea plant. The small leaf variety, known as Camellia sinensis, thrives in the cool, high mountain regions.  The plant produces dark green, shiny leaves and small, white blossoms. According to an old Chinese saying, "superior tea comes from high mountains". The altitude and mountain mists help shield against too much sunlight and provide the proper temperature and humidity to allow the leaves to develop slowly and remain tender. The quality and taste of a particular tea is influenced by both the environment (soil, climate, and altitude) and the tea maker (who decides when and how the leaf is plucked and how it is processed). Most tea plants have a growth phase and a dormant period, usually the plants have several flushes and can be picked year-round. There are four main types of tea: green tea, black tea, oolong tea and white tea. All tea comes from the same plant. The specific variety of tea plant and the way the leaves are processed after harvesting determine the type of tea that is created.
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