Excerpt from page 3 - Traditional Tea
Grown in tropical regions on shady, rainy hillsides, the plant Camellia sinensis was first cultivated in China; cultivation was then spread throughout the Far East and India. The different varieties of traditional tea, such as Darjeeling, Ceylon, Chinese, and so on, are named for the geographic region each is grown in. The climate and growing conditions produce the differences in taste that are hallmarks of each variety.
Also a factor in the quality is what part of the plant is harvested. The youngest, tender topmost leaves are picked by hand and cost the most. As the older leaves are plucked, medium - and coarse-grade teas are produced. Machine-harvested leaves may bear the initials CTC, meaning "cut - torn - crushed."
Tea leaves are further classified as green, black, or oolong, depending on whether they have been fermented. Fermenting occurs when wilted, rolled tea leaves are spread out in a cool, humid room to "ripen", or acquire a softer taste and deeper color.
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