Tea, how do they make it?

Yes, how is the cuppa that you adults drink all the time made?

P1030123 in a tea plantation.DSC 0046

P1030279 the seeds, DSC 0050 the flower,    DSC 0051 the tea leaves.

Making tea is not as easy as we might think.

First you obviously need to pick the leaves.

Not that long ago they used to do it by hand and you could see hundreds of people picking the tea leaves off the bushes. This was good for the economy  because it meant a lot of people had a job, now unfortunately they use machines to do the job but they are still operated by hand by two people. Sometimes  they use zip wire to send the bags to the factory.

DSC 0079 the shear to cut the leaves and DSC 0080 the machine.

Once the bags are in the factory the process begins.

There are five steps to this process.

Withering, Rolling, Fermentation, Drying and Sorting.

Withering: the green leaves are on beds where air is blown to reduce the moisture content by almost 50%. This process stimulates a natural chemical reaction that is vital for the quality of the tea. This process takes place over night. Now the tea leaves are suitable for rolling.

Rolling: It is very important because the leaves need to have there juices squeezed out of them for fermentation.

DSC 0057 DSC 0071

Fermentation: This is a critical step in the process and you cannot have first class tea without it. What happens is that the enzymes in the leaves get exposed to oxygen. This stage takes 1½ to 2 hours and is vital for the characteristic of the flavour of the tea.

Drying: This is a dangerous process because the fermented leaves pass through air at 100.c, this stops the fermentation process and reduces the moisture to under 3% giving the familiar black leaves that we use to make tea.

DSC 0062

Sorting: The tea is graded at this stage and is sorted in to bags to send to another factory to put them into tea bags to send to the shops.

You sort the leaves out by passing them through a big sieve which extract the leaves from the stalks and fibres. Each grade of tea has its own density and flavour characteristics.

DSC 0067 DSC 0068

The smell in the factory was very pungent and for me it was far too strong to like.

We went in the teashop to try some tea it was nice to start with but it stewed a while and then it was very bitter.

The guy who was at the counter said ” it is better without any milk or sugar sir “and in my opinion he was half right .

DSC 0078 bags they used to use for transportation.

DSC 0093 and us at the end of the day.

  1. #1 by veronika on November 20, 2011 - 8:33 am

    Salut petit chou, what a wonderfuk description of how to make tea. i guess I will never again regard tealeaves the same way. It would be so nice to hear from you as skype is really not working well. tell me a bit about how you feel about this amazing trip. love you Mamika
    a big hug to your two brothers

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