The original plants, several different varieties of tea, were first cultivated commercially in the 1880s and today's plants are hybrids from natural cross-pollination of these originals. We took a tour through the factory where the leaves are processed and through the plantation where the tea is grown. The fields had just been harvested (the top few inches are cut every two weeks during the growing season) so they don't look so pretty.
The greenhouse holds lots of small plants ready to go out in the field. They are overdue to go out, in fact, because the migrant agricultural workers of the past are not allowed to enter the U.S. and Americans are not willing to work in the fields so there aren't enough workers to do the planting.
We enjoyed our very enthusiastic tour guide, the gorgeous spring day, and the tea plantation.
Oh, yes -- and all the tea we could drink. And we did drink our share!