Manufacturer of Assam orthodox and CTC Tea
After plucking, tea leaves are transported to the factory for processing. In the "Tea Manufacturing" process "Wihtering" is the first and foremost step. In this process the freshly plucked "Tea-Shoots" (Two leaves and a bud) are subjected to a controlled partial moisture removal process either in an open or an enclosed trough by using either ambient or conditioned air. The objective of this operation is to remove excess moisture and to make the tea leaves physically and chemically conducive for subsequent tea processing operations.
'Rolling' is the next stage in the processing cycle, during which the now soft and easy-to-twist leaves are fed through brass rollers to break up the leaves' cellular structures, releasing the enzymes and juices which begin to oxidise as soon as the leaf cells are ruptured, giving the teas their characteristic flavours. This laborious task was once performed by hand, but since the early 1900s, the procedure has been mechanised.
After rolling, processes diverge according to the type of tea being produced. For CTC tea, the leaves are cut using a CTC machine and then allowed to ferment in a hmidity controlled environment at a temperature of about 25 to 27 degrees Celsius where oxidation takes place turning the leaves to a coppery-red colour.
The tea is now ready to be 'dried', or 'fired'. Leaves are then passed slowly through a dryer for about 25 minutes, which stops the oxidisation process and turns the leaves black. This process stabilises the tea until its consumption, when the addition of boiling water will release all the flavours captured through plucking, withering, rolling, fermentation / oxidisation and drying.