Monday, June 30, 2014

How Tea Processing Takes Place

The tea plant camellia sinensis is a shrub with fragrant white flowers. But the beverage is made from internode, lanceolate leaves and buds. The cultivation takes place at various locations, heights and climatic regions. This produces leaves with vast variety of flavors, shapes and size. The amount of fermentation is responsible for production of green, white or black leaf.     

During the processing after the leaves are plucked the leaves are dried to reduce water content. This process is known as withering. The dried leaves are then rolled using machines or hand. This process enable the leaf to break its cells and release aromatic compounds.  

After rolling the oxidation stage takes over. The amount of oxidation is responsible for type of leaf that will result - green, white and black. The leaves are than fired without causing a burn. This step stops the oxidation process. Hence a varying degree of the oxidation can carried out as desired.  

For processing the black variant the leaves after being plucked are left to dry for a day. The process described above takes place. After the leaves have been properly oxidized to attain the right flavor and color the leaves are sent to the hot air chambers to fix the flavor and stop the oxidation process. By this time the leaves have taken the desired shape and attained the right flavor. Moisture content has come down to two percent and the leaves are ready for packing.     

I case of green tea withering may take place but the rest of the process is skipped. The leaves are subject to pan firing immediately in order to prevent oxidation. The final stage is to roll the leaves and dry them. The amazing health beneficial green tea is ready to be packed. Due to minimum process the green tea retains most of the antioxidants and ploy phenols which are good for health.  

Wagh Bakri is one of the largest tea processing and packing company in India. Like wise there are many such concerns in India that are responsible for delivering the brew to our doorstep. 

History Of Tea

It is said and written everywhere that tea beverage was first discovered whence a leaf fell into a war cup of water. Obviously it was the Chinese Emperor  who happened to be holding the cup. This goes about five thousand years back whence Indus Civilization  was taking roots in the sub continent.

How tea came to India is little known except it was the British who initiated commercial plantation. It is quiet likely that tea plant was found in North East India from ancient times. The brew was perhaps consumed for medicinal purpose by the tribes inhabiting that region.    

The British also created a commercial demand for this hot beverage. They did this by initially distributing free packets of leaves to the Indians. Before the introduction of tea people used to drink milk for breakfast. This changed dramatically and we are now addicted to the brew or rather it has entered our daily habit. 

The dramatic spread of tea cultivation in Asia is well known. China and Japan grow exotic varieties of green leaf while India is known to be a mass producer of black leaf. Nevertheless India grows some exquisite variety of leaves like the Darjeeling, Assam and Nilgiri premium teas.

The country consumes most of the cultivation within itself.  But does export whence the crop is robust. India also exports some fine blends of its premium teas to many countries.