Tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world. You make it by pouring hot water over the dried leaves of a tea plant. For centuries people believed that teas could cure illnesses, they used it as medicine. Today scientists know that tea contains chemicals that prevent cells from dying. Most teas have caffeine in them, a substance that makes you feel more active. Some people have problems drinking tea because it can cause sleeplessness.
The tea plant grows best in tropical and temperate places where rain falls throughout the year. Tea can be grown from sea level to about 2,000 metres, but the best quality grows in higher regions.
Tea comes from the leaves and buds of tea plants. Wild plants can be up to 9 metres high but on tea plantations they are cut back to a bush of about a metre in height so that workers can pluck the leaves easily. The plant produces pointed, leathery dark leaves, small white flowers and seeds that look like hazelnuts. It takes a plant three to five years before is ready for plucking.