Sinensis and Assamica?


For general/other topics related to tea.

Sinensis and Assamica?

Postby umijoshi » Jan 8th, '14, 04:45

Hello,

I'll lead with this statement, I'm pretty much brand new to tea (I've read a book~) and over the course of reading this book. I've come up with several questions.

One of the main questions, and the topics subject is:

1. Camellia Sinensis is to Camellia Assamica, as Vitis Vinifera is to ______ ? Camellia Assasmica seems to be a sub-species of Camellia Sinensis. If we could compare to grapes, sub species of vitis vinifera are (eg: merlot, riesling, pinot noir, viognier, etc) all extremely different grapes, producing extremely different wines. If my comparison to grapes is not wrong, then regarding tea... :

"What's that you made? Merlot? What's Merlot, OHhhh, you mean you made red wine? Ok, I like red wine"

Do I have this correct?

Anyway, I could be way off, it's late. Looking forward to a reply, if not to the other questions than at least to this! :D

2. "White Tea is not used for scented Teas" -- Really?

3. "Britain is the worlds largest consumer of tea, followed by Ireland" -- Really?

4. "Japan only makes green tea" -- ?

5. Matcha style black tea seems to exist, how about powder forms of other kinds of tea? Oolong, White, etc
umijoshi
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Jan 7th, '1

Re: Sinensis and Assamica?

Postby chrl42 » Jan 8th, '14, 06:00

It's all variables, just try to understand Sinensis as 'small tree' and Assamica as 'big tree', Sinensis is grown in China, Korea and Japan...Assamica (or other big trees) is grown in Vienam, India, Myanrma, Sri Lanka etc. Sinensis has been used for drinking as thousands years whilest Assamica had its popularity since the India East company...I'm no botanist :mrgreen:

2. No, HKers like it with flowers into it, as I've known.

3. that's a population per density, if per total numbers...it's China no doubt. If you take it to city or region (per density) it's Chaozhou of China.

4. pass

5. I don't think they have it, the custom of making tea into powder, was invented when all tea was green (other types of tea were later invented)
User avatar
chrl42
 
Posts: 1540
Joined: Mar 22nd, '
Location: Beijing

Re: Sinensis and Assamica?

Postby Senchamatcha » Jan 8th, '14, 09:36

This should clear it up: camellia sinensis -> camellia sinensis variety sinensis (native to china) AND camellia sinensis variety assamica ( native to India) both came from camellia sinensis, which now only exists in the forms sinensis and assamica. It's the difference between red apples and green apples. Alot of people shorten it to cam. Sinensis and cam. Assamica. A better and less confusing shorthand: c.s. v. Sinensis and c.s. v. Assamica.
Senchamatcha
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Dec 30th, '

Re: Sinensis and Assamica?

Postby Chip » Jan 8th, '14, 14:11

Senchamatcha wrote:This should clear it up: camellia sinensis -> camellia sinensis variety sinensis (native to china) AND camellia sinensis variety assamica ( native to India) both came from camellia sinensis, which now only exists in the forms sinensis and assamica. It's the difference between red apples and green apples. Alot of people shorten it to cam. Sinensis and cam. Assamica. A better and less confusing shorthand: c.s. v. Sinensis and c.s. v. Assamica.

Exactly.

Add to this, there are countless cultivars ...

2. This is often a question of semantics. Tea harvested and otherwise manufactured/produced as white tea is often used for making traditionally scented teas ... but some would say the extra step of scenting makes the tea a lightly oxidized version ... often referred to as a pouchong in the West. To which, I say whatever. :mrgreen:

3. As mentioned already, per person perhaps but certainly not in terms of national consumption.

4. There are Japanese blacks, oolongs ... I have not seen whites ... yet. But likely 99% or more of tea produced in Japan is still green.

5. There are powdered forms of all general classes of tea.
User avatar
Chip
Mod/Admin
 
Posts: 22126
Joined: Apr 22nd, '
Location: Back in the TeaCave atop Mt. Fuji

Re: Sinensis and Assamica?

Postby umijoshi » Jan 8th, '14, 14:56

Senchamatcha wrote:This should clear it up: camellia sinensis -> camellia sinensis variety sinensis (native to china) AND camellia sinensis variety assamica ( native to India) both came from camellia sinensis, which now only exists in the forms sinensis and assamica. It's the difference between red apples and green apples. Alot of people shorten it to cam. Sinensis and cam. Assamica. A better and less confusing shorthand: c.s. v. Sinensis and c.s. v. Assamica.


Would one find c.s. v. Sinensis over in India? or c.s. v. Assamica over in China, Japan, etc? Teas made from 'red apples' would surely taste different than teas made from 'green apples' and if both variations of Camellia Sinensis are grown within the same country or region there is likely some indication which variation was used on the final product?

I ask because when I examined the caddy's that the tea at the shops I went to was stored in, it makes no mention of sinensis variation.
umijoshi
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Jan 7th, '1

Re: Sinensis and Assamica?

Postby mbanu » Jan 8th, '14, 20:33

umijoshi wrote:1. Camellia Sinensis is to Camellia Assamica, as Vitis Vinifera is to ______ ? Camellia Assasmica seems to be a sub-species of Camellia Sinensis. If we could compare to grapes, sub species of vitis vinifera are (eg: merlot, riesling, pinot noir, viognier, etc) all extremely different grapes, producing extremely different wines. If my comparison to grapes is not wrong, then regarding tea... :

"What's that you made? Merlot? What's Merlot, OHhhh, you mean you made red wine? Ok, I like red wine"

Do I have this correct?


Camellia Assamica is a tea varietal that was found growing wild in Assam, and that brought about the idea that tea could be grown commercially in India, despite the fact that earlier attempts with Camellia Sinensis var. sinensis had failed.

Assamica can cross-breed with Sinensis, so the distinction isn't always very clear. Efforts were made in India to keep Sinensis out of the Assamica gardens once this was realized, because the cross-breeds didn't tend to make good tea. What would be equivalent to grapes are the cultivars of tea -- sorts of sub-varietal within Assamica and Sinensis. There are also clonal cultivars, that are based off cuttings made from single unique tea bushes, rather than bushes grown from seed.

umijoshi wrote:2. "White Tea is not used for scented Teas" -- Really?


Silver needle white tea was not traditionally scented, but of course if someone is willing to pay for something, it is only a matter of time before it is offered. :)

umijoshi wrote:3. "Britain is the worlds largest consumer of tea, followed by Ireland" -- Really?


That depends on whether you are going by tea consumed per person or tea consumed as a whole. Britain was once the world's largest consumer of black tea according to the records available at the time, but is not any longer (India is the largest consumer of black tea now, I believe, followed by Russia). Ireland had the record for quantity of black tea consumed per person, but also not any longer.

umijoshi wrote:4. "Japan only makes green tea" -- ?


Not technically true, but basically true.

umijoshi wrote:5. Matcha style black tea seems to exist, how about powder forms of other kinds of tea? Oolong, White, etc


To some degree this is a marketing scam. Most of the "matcha" for non green-tea is something called "tea dust", a byproduct of tea manufacture, and not high-quality whole leaves that have been specifically ground in the Japanese style. Tea dust can make a passable tea, but it should not be expensive.
mbanu
 
Posts: 99
Joined: Oct 14th, '

Re: Sinensis and Assamica?

Postby Senchamatcha » Jan 8th, '14, 20:55

I said they are native to those two distinct regions.simemsis has been transplanted into Korea Taiwan and Japan ( to name a few). Assamica is native to Assam India. It's been transplanted into china, Africa, Ceylon ( again to name just a few)

Sorry umi but most commercial tea companies know jack sh*t about tea. So they 99% of the time don't mark whether stuff is asamica or sinensis. Online stores like Taiwan tea crafts, o-cha, and yuukicha have more... Discerning customers... Who care whether thier gyo is from sae midori or a samidori. Grocery store customers see the word " tea" and grab an go.
Senchamatcha
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Dec 30th, '

Re: Sinensis and Assamica?

Postby Chip » Jan 8th, '14, 22:22

mbanu wrote:Silver needle white tea was not traditionally scented, but of course if someone is willing to pay for something, it is only a matter of time before it is offered. :)


Jasmine scented Silver Needle is already offered ...

mbanu wrote:To some degree this is a marketing scam. Most of the "matcha" for non green-tea is something called "tea dust", a byproduct of tea manufacture, and not high-quality whole leaves that have been specifically ground in the Japanese style. Tea dust can make a passable tea, but it should not be expensive.

Perhaps some ... but there are powdered versions of many teas made from actual leaves ... leaves are milled in a similar fashion as Matcha from Japan.

TBH, any I have tasted did not ... thrill me ... quite the opposite. True matcha tastes excellent milled and enjoyed in its entirety. Most other teas like white and oolong do not. :mrgreen:
User avatar
Chip
Mod/Admin
 
Posts: 22126
Joined: Apr 22nd, '
Location: Back in the TeaCave atop Mt. Fuji

Re: Sinensis and Assamica?

Postby umijoshi » Jan 9th, '14, 03:01

mbanu wrote:What would be equivalent to grapes are the cultivars of tea -- sorts of sub-varietal within Assamica and Sinensis.


Wine has quite a few books about grape varietals. Wishful thinking to assume tea has some books on cultivars?
umijoshi
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Jan 7th, '1

Re: Sinensis and Assamica?

Postby mbanu » Jan 9th, '14, 03:47

The only works I know of are about clonal teas (teas grown from clippings of a single tea bush), and are mostly geared towards farmers; they talk about X clonal cultivar's resistance to frost but lower yield, or Y clonal cultivar's high production but susceptibility to tea mites. Things may be different in China, where there has always been a mystique surounding tea from exceptional single bushes.

Seed cultivars are a more amorphous group, so they are usually just referred to by the farm where they are grown, or are lumped together with other farms in the region to form a regional flavor profile (like "Nuwara Eliya" in Sri Lanka).
mbanu
 
Posts: 99
Joined: Oct 14th, '

Re: Sinensis and Assamica?

Postby eyvind » Jan 9th, '14, 03:59

1. Camellia Sinensis is to Camellia Assamica, as Vitis Vinifera is to ______ ? Camellia Assasmica seems to be a sub-species of Camellia Sinensis.

Botanical infraspecific taxonomy, eh? You really want to open that can o' worms? (There is a lot of scientific debate and lines are often fuzzy)
First, scientific terms have specific definitions which may not be the same as common usage. A subspecies can interbreed resulting in fertile offspring but has enough distinct traits to be recognized as different from the type specimen (the specimen on which the name was published). A variety is also distinct from the type but has less evolutionary distance than a subspecies and usually do not occur in the same area. Often "variety" in common usage really means "cultivar" in botany-speak. A cultivar is bred by humans to have particular traits. The example you gave with grapes, "merlot" is a cultivar of Vitis vinifera, whgich would be written as Vitis vinifera 'merlot'. In tea, yabukita is one the main cultivars in Japan. Often these named cultivars are clonal cultivars- all the same genetic individual.
To answer you question, there are two currently recognized subspecies of Camellia sinensis: sinensis and assamica.
Earlier it was said that subspecies assamica came from subspecies sinensis. This isn't exactly true- subspecies sinensis carries the name because it was the type specimen. Both descended from a common ancestor but one would need to do a genetic analysis on several populations to determine which group has the most ancestral characteristics. Contemporaneous taxa cannot descend from one another.
(I could go on and on but I will spare you my biological zeal :wink: )
From what I remember, the British discovered the assamica in Assam and began cultivating it in India (18th or 19th century) to break the Chinese monopoly on tea.
User avatar
eyvind
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Jul 10th, '
Location: San Diego County, California

Re: Sinensis and Assamica?

Postby eyvind » Jan 9th, '14, 04:16

The only works I know of are about clonal teas (teas grown from clippings of a single tea bush), and are mostly geared towards farmers; they talk about X clonal cultivar's resistance to frost but lower yield, or Y clonal cultivar's high production but susceptibility to tea mites. Things may be different in China, where there has always been a mystique surounding tea from exceptional single bushes.

Seed cultivars are a more amorphous group, so they are usually just referred to by the farm where they are grown, or are lumped together with other farms in the region to form a regional flavor profile (like "Nuwara Eliya" in Sri Lanka)

Agree.
I don't know of any particular books but the vendors of Japanese tea (such as o-cha.com and yuuki-cha.com) list the cultivars used in the teas. This might be a place to investigate flavor profiles of particular cultivars if sencha is your thing.
User avatar
eyvind
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Jul 10th, '
Location: San Diego County, California

Re: Sinensis and Assamica?

Postby umijoshi » Jan 9th, '14, 17:51

This is the 4th or 5th time recently that Japan has been mentioned as an example of a country that usually lists the cultivars used in their end products. Is this mainly a Japanese specific practice or do other countries do it as well?

eyvind wrote:
A subspecies can interbreed resulting in fertile offspring but has enough distinct traits to be recognized as different from the type specimen (the specimen on which the name was published).

Farmers put effort into preventing 'breeding' and cross-pollination of plants by the cloning process right?

A variety is also distinct from the type but has less evolutionary distance than a subspecies and usually do not occur in the same area. Often "variety" in common usage really means "cultivar" in botany-speak. A cultivar is bred by humans to have particular traits. The example you gave with grapes, "merlot" is a cultivar of Vitis vinifera, whgich would be written as Vitis vinifera 'merlot'. In tea, yabukita is one the main cultivars in Japan.


To further elaborate on your example --
which would be written as vitis vinifera 'merlot'. In tea, yabukita is one of the main cultivars in Japan and would be written as 'camellia sinensis var. sinensis yabukita' (the ...var. sinensis is important to note I imagine)
While in India for example... we might see 'Camellia Sinensis var. Assamica cultivar name?

This isn't exactly true- subspecies sinensis carries the name because it was the type specimen.

Explain it like I'm 5? :D
Last edited by umijoshi on Jan 9th, '14, 19:56, edited 1 time in total.
umijoshi
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Jan 7th, '1

Re: Sinensis and Assamica?

Postby Chip » Jan 9th, '14, 19:51

I do know that the Japanese have been researching and naming cultivars for years. And the cultivar names have often been used in the naming of specific teas for as long as I have been drinking tea ... with the exception of Yabukita which is so commonly grown that naming a tea as such would be meaningless.

Some vendors of Japanese tea also specifically list cultivars used in the making of teas ... I think this is becoming more and more prevalent as consumers become more and more ... wanting of as much info as possible.

Other countries ... I will leave them to others with more experience to answer!
User avatar
Chip
Mod/Admin
 
Posts: 22126
Joined: Apr 22nd, '
Location: Back in the TeaCave atop Mt. Fuji

Re: Sinensis and Assamica?

Postby MacGuffin » Jan 9th, '14, 20:54

Chip wrote:I do know that the Japanese have been researching and naming cultivars for years.

If I'm not mistaken, the Chinese--at least for rock oolongs--number their cultivars and refer to them that way.
MacGuffin
 
Posts: 99
Joined: May 27th, '
Location: NYC

Next

Instant Messenger

Permissions
You cannot post new topics
You cannot reply to topics
You cannot edit your posts
You cannot delete your posts
You cannot post attachments
Navigation