Tea is made primarily from Camelia sinensis in the Sichuan province of China. Both black and green tea is made by plucking the tender top two leaves and the terminal shoot from the slowing growing shrub. Hence probably the relatively new business in the Roaring Fork Valley called ‘Two Leaves and a Bud’.
Black tea is made from fermenting the leaves, then heating and drying. Green tea skips the fermentation process.
A couple of times in the 19th and 20th centuries the USDA tried to get a tea industry going in the States, according to an article for Landscape Architecture Magazine contributed by Constance Casey, but apparently farmers in the South and Gulf Coast areas did not see the profit in harvesting four and a half pounds of these tiny leaves from this slow growing plant to make just one pound of tea.
The Charleston Tea Plantation is the only remaining tea plantation in the US according to Ms. Casey, and they seem to have mastered a harvest method. Walk softly and carry a big hedge trimmer to flat-top your tea bushes.