Tea Production

A.  Orthodox method

  1. Withering
    The freshly plucked green leaves are dehumidified and lose approximately 30% of their humidity.  This takes place in 25 to 30 meters long wilting trays.  Big ventilators blow air on the trays, which are stringed with wire.  The process takes between 12 and 18 hours.
  2. Rolling
    The cell walls of the leaf are opened with big roll machines.  The cell juice escapes and connects with oxygen.  Now the essential oils which determine later the flavours and scent of the tea develop and the fermentation process starts.
  3. Fermenting
    The oxidation or fermentation process of the escaping cell juice already starts when the leaves are rolled.  During the fermentation process, which takes 2 to 3 hours the leaf turns copper red in colour.  This same copper colour returns when infusing the tea.
  4. Drying / Firing
    Once the desired fermentation degree is reached, the drying process starts.  For this purpose special drying machines are used, these are fired either with wood or oil.  The tea passes a treadmill with a temperature of 90 ℃.  After about 20 minutes the cell juice which escaped during the rolling process dries and becomes part of the tea leaf.  During the drying process the tea turns black in colour.  The remaining humidity of the tea is about 6%.  Only 1 kg of black tea is extracted from 4 kg green tea leaves.
  5. Sorting
    By the means of different sieves the tea is sorted in its different varieties from standard leaf quality to broken grade tea.

B.   CTC method (Crushing – Tearing-Curling)

  1. Withering
  2. Rolling
  3. Fermenting
  4. Drying
  5. Sorting

After the withering process the leaf is rolled only once and then broken and crushed by specially constructed machines with big thorn equipped cylinders.  During this process stems and leaf veins are eliminated as far as possible and only the chopped “meat” of the leaves goes into further processing.

Leaf grade at the CTC production: BP = Broken Pekoe; PF = Pekoe Fannings; PD = Pekoe Dust

Usual orthodox leaf grades – percentages of total tea production

Large leaf size (SFTGFOP1, FTGFOP1, TGFOP1, GFOP, FOP) = 6%

Small leaf size (FP, PEKOE) = 15%

Rough broken (FBOP) = 20%

Fine Broken (GFBOP, GBOP) = 20%

Fannings (BOPF, OF) + Dust (PD) = 39% (both grades for tea bags only)