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Tea plants are propagated from seed and cuttings; about 4 to 12 years are needed for a plant to bear seed and about three years before a new plant is ready for harvesting.In addition to a zone 8 climate or warmer, tea plants require at least 127 cm (50 in) of rainfall a year and prefer acidic soils.Many high-quality tea plants are cultivated at elevations of up to 1,500 m (4,900 ft) above sea level. Though at these heights the plants grow more slowly, they acquire a better flavour.
Two principal varieties are used: Camellia sinensis var. sinensis, which is used for most Chinese, Formosan and Japanese teas, and C. used in Pu-erh and most Indian teas Within these botanical varieties, many strains and modern clonal varieties are known.
Caffeine constitutes about 3% of tea’s dry weight, translating to between 30 mg and 90 mg per 8-oz (250-ml) cup depending on type, brand,and brewing method. A study found that the caffeine content of 1 g of black tea ranged from 22 to 28 mg, while the caffeine content of 1 g of green tea ranged from 11 to 20 mg,
The astringency in tea can be attributed to the presence of polyphenols. These are the most abundant compounds in tea leaves, making up 30-40% of their composition.