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How are Teas Manufactured?


June 4th, 2020

You’re probably blown away by the scenic visuals of the tea plantations in Munnar.  You’re also probably wondering as to how the same plant leads to the production of such a wide variety of dissimilar looking teas, be it silvery-hued wiry white tea, well rolled green tea, the broken green tea in teabags, CTC grains of black tea, Pu-erh cakes or well-rolled black leaves of an Orthodox Tea.

All teas go through the same basic steps in the Leaf to Lip cycle: Plucking – Withering – Rolling – Oxidising (popularly known as Fermentation!)– Drying. The timing and techniques within these steps decide the type and quality of tea that you get as the end-product.

We at KDHP take this opportunity to help you understand the process of tea manufacturing better in a simpler manner.

White Tea

Plucking: White tea is composed of only tea buds. They are handpicked by tea pluckers from our tea plantations in the higher elevations of the Top Station region of Munnar

Withering: Freshly plucked tea buds are spread and laid out indoors in our factories to remove the moisture content. Withering softens the tea buds and leaves, making them flexible and supple so they don’t crumble during the rest of the processing procedure.

Drying:  The oxidized tea buds are further dried in optimum temperature before they are sent for final packaging and transportation.

Packaging: The dried buds are then dispatched from the processing factory to the packaging facility. Here, the teas are re-checked on quality parameters. Furthermore, consistent delivery of the product is checked to ensure homogeneity.

Orthodox Tea

Plucking:  Tea leaves are handpicked/ sheared by tea pluckers.

Withering: Freshly plucked tea leaves are spread and laid out indoors in specially designed troughs to remove the moisture content. Withering softens the tea leaves, making them flexible and supple so they won’t crumble during the rest of the processing steps.

Rolling: After the withering process the tea leaves are then rolled to the desired shape by specially designed rollers.

Oxidizing:  Oxidization is a process that helps the tea leaves attain their ultimate flavour, colour, appearance and aroma. The level of oxidization determines or distinguishes different types of tea.

Drying:  The oxidized teas are further dried in optimum temperature before they are sent for final packaging and transportation.

Green Tea

Plucking: Green tea is composed of the choicest tea buds and leaves in an approximate ratio of 2 leaves and one tea bud. They are handpicked/ sheared by tea pluckers from our tea plantations in the higher elevations of the Top Station region.

Withering:  Freshly plucked tea leaves are spread and laid out indoors in specially designed troughs to remove the moisture content. Withering softens the tea leaves, making them flexible and supple so they won’t crumble during the rest of the processing steps.

Rolling: Since green tea is delicate and undergoes the least processing and handling, the leaves are carefully machine-rolled lightly to ensure the preservation of maximum antioxidant properties in the tea. Hand-pressing is another technique that is popularly used globally for green tea processing.

Drying:  The rolled tea buds and leaves are further dried in optimum temperature before they are sent for final packaging and transportation.

Packaging: The dried leaves are then dispatched from the processing factory to the packaging facility. Here, the teas are re-checked on quality parameters. Furthermore, consistent delivery of the product is checked to ensure homogeneity.

CTC Tea

Plucking:  Tea leaves are handpicked/sheared by tea pluckers and usually they store it in bamboo baskets that are tied to their back with a piece of cloth.

Withering:  Freshly plucked tea leaves are spread and laid out indoors in specially designed troughs to remove the moisture content. Withering softens the tea leaves, making them flexible and supple so they won’t crumble during the rest of the processing steps.

Rolling: After the withering process the tea leaves are then cut into pieces using a specially designed CTC  machine to the desired shape.

Oxidizing:  Oxidising is a process that helps the tea leaves attain their ultimate flavour, colour, appearance and aroma. The level of oxidization determines or distinguishes different types of tea.

Drying:  The oxidized teas are further dried in optimum temperature before they are sent for final packaging and transportation.