Darjeeling tea is a very prominent category of tea consumed in several parts of the world. It comes from the bush Camellia Sinensis like other teas and grows mostly in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India. The Darjeeling tea leaves are very delicate and carry a golden-bronze color with a fruity, floral aroma.
Its processing technique got developed in the 1800s and is popular as Orthodox Tea Production. The whole process focuses on retaining the aroma and flavor of the tea.
Let us read about the process of making tea in a factory.
- Step1- Tea Plucking by Tea Pickers
The Nepalese women pluck the tea leaves in unique bamboo baskets. Elegant tea plucking is an art. If the tea pickers do not pluck it properly, then the whole tea processing can hinder the quality of tea. So, the quality of tea leaves picked and brought to the factory is of utmost importance. Only skilled hands can pluck the perfect leaves.
- Step2- Weighing of Tea Leaves
In this step, the tea pickers send plucked tea leaves to the factory for weighing. The tea laborers get their quantity registered for future calculations. The leaves then enter the actual process of Orthodox Tea Production, which starts with withering.
- Step3- Tea Withering Process
During this step, the tea makers spread the harvested tea leaves on a withering trough. Withering troughs blow hot and cold air for about 14-16 hours to remove moisture. This stage of tea withering is essential, and the tea maker checks the status of the tea leaves by completely getting a handful of tea leaves and rolling them in the hand.
- Step4- Rolling Process of Tea
Then tea makers place withered tea leaves in the rollers, which may differ in size. The pressure exerted on the tea leaf is in the 'open and pressure' sequence. This process lasts for 45 minutes. During this tea rolling process, the color of tea leaves turns brown or copper. That is because the rolling ruptures the cells eject the natural juices and thus facilitates oxidation and pigmentation.
- Step5- Tea Oxidation or Fermentation
In this step, the tea makers keep the rolled tea leaves on the tea fermentation racks. The process is carried out at a low and cold temperature in the fermentation room for about 2-4 hours. In this process, the color of leaves becomes gloomy and coppery. A conventional aroma develops.
This process also differentiates a black, oolong, and green tea variety. Darjeeling Black tea undergoes whole fermentation; Darjeeling oolong tea passes through semi-fermentation while Darjeeling green tea does not pass through fermentation.
- Step6- Tea Drying Process
In this step, tea manufacturers load fermented tea leaves onto the dryer consisting of perforated moving trays. The inlet is at the temperature of 200 to 240°C. The complete tea drying method takes about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Step7- Sorting and Grading of Tea Leaves
Tea makers use oscillated sieves for sorting and grading tea leaves. That enables more significant size teas to remain on the top and broken to the bottom, hence defining different types of Darjeeling Tea by leaf size.
It is the manufacturing process that determines the formation of the type of tea. And this also relies upon the many tea seasons, according to which the tea gets categorized into Darjeeling First Flush, Second Flush, and Autumnal Flush. In case you want to check out the Darjeeling tea price we offer, click here.
- Step8- Packaging of Tea
The manufacturers pack tea leaves in tea sacks or wooden tea boxes depending on the tea leaves. They pack tea leaves of larger size, such as white tea, in wooden tea boxes, whereas smaller tea leaves get packed in paper tea bags with moisture-proof aluminum foil. This packaging is 100% moisture-free which helps in keeping the flavor of tea intact. To buy tea online, click on the homepage tab.
That is how the production of the Champagne of teas happens in a factory.
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