local food

local caffeine part one — tea

So as you see in the video I’m growing green tea on my balcony. Camellia sinensis to be exact, the tea plant, of the Theaceae family. I’ve gotten about 8 cups of tea from this small plant (a scrawny 2-3 feet) so far this spring. I’m not really sure about the best way to prune it for shape (and when) or how many times to harvest the leaves for optimal production, and I’m definitely not a great tea master. I am very excited however, at the potential of growing my own caffeine, and enjoying the amazing fresh earthy taste of the Camellia that graces my porch. A common ornamental relative, Camellia japonica is frequently found in my neighborhood. In fact, one grows a mere 12 feet away from my tea plant. They have bigger leaves and much bigger and showier flowers, and in my experience in this area, are the Camellias referred to when . . . well . . . when one is referring to Camellias. The Plants For a Future site reports that the C. japonica variety can also be made into a tea. Despite their amazing abundance in this area (as ornamental plantings), I have for some unknown reason failed to try them.

Check back soon for local caffeine part two: yerba mate’.