From Chai Seeds to Chai Tea Tea is one of the oldest and most popular beverages in the whole world. Growing tea starts with the chai seeds. Let us know more about the chai seeds. What are chai seeds? Chai seeds are the seeds of the Camellia sinensis plant, the tea plant. The tea plants usually grow in areas of tropical or sub-tropical climates. A few varieties can withstand marine climates like in Washington in the USA and Pembrokeshire in mainland Britain. Propagation of tea plants can be through seeds by cutting. From the planted seeds, it takes 3 years to produce a tea plant mature enough for harvest. Tea plants, untended, can grow up to as high as 52 feet. However, tea plant growers prune the plants to waist high for convenient plucking. From the tea plants, the leaves are processed to form the different types of tea. The types of tea vary according to the treatment of the leaves. White tea is made from leaves that are wilted but not oxidized. Yellow tea is made from unwilted and unoxidized leaves that are allowed to yellow. Green tea is from unwilted and unoxidized leaves. Oolong and Black tea are both varieties with wilted and bruised leaves with the former only partially oxidized while the latter fully oxidized. The seeds from a Camellia sinesis plant would take 4 to 12 years to produce. What are chai seeds varieties? There are two main varieties of the chai seeds. The first is Camellia sinensis var. sinensis which is the Chinese tea and the other one is the Camellia sinensis var. assamica which is the Assam tea. The Chinese tea is the small leaf variety which grows in the cooler mountainous regions of China and Japan. This variety is usually used in Chinese and Japanese green tea. The Assam variety has broader leaf and grows in the moister areas of Szechuan and Yunnan provinces in China and in Northeastern India. This broad-leaf variety is commonly used for black teas. Other varieties of chai seed are Camellia sinensis var. pubilimba and Camellia sinensis var. dehungensis. These varieties are not as popularly used as the first two. Aside from growing tea, what are chai seeds’ used for? If not for tea production, oil is extracted from the chai seeds. The oil can be used for cooking. This type of oil is compared to grapeseed oil with its saturated fat content. The chai seed oil is also used in soaps and as hair oil. The residue of the tea seed after oil extraction is also used as seed meal. What are chai seeds meal? Chai seed meal or tea seed meal are residues of the tea seed that can be used as organic fertilizer.