Stages in tea processing

Traditionally, the new crop is picked in early May on the 88th day(八十八夜) after the first day of spring. Tea leaves are about 5 cm long. Farmers begin picking tea leaves early in the morning when the new crop is soft and young. Fresh tea leaves oxidize immediately therefore they pick in small batches. Within one day, the farmers go back and forth from the fields to the factory to ensure the tea is processed at its peak of freshness.



1: All plucked tea leaves are weighed while on the truck.

2: Tea leaves are moved on to a conveyer belt for processing.


3: Fresh tea leaves are steamed to prevent oxidation. The steaming softens the leaves.Light steaming is 30 - 60 seconds, deep steaming is 100 -140 seconds.

4: First stage rolling
After steaming, leaves are mixed and rolled with a heated fan to release the moisture.

5: Second stage of rolling
The intensity and pressure increases, and the moisture and flavor is distributed evenly.


6: Final stage rolling
The moisture is released. Tea leaves take on a uniform shape.



7: The tea is dried again
The tea leaves are now referred to as rough tea, unrefined. The tea at this stage is called Ara-cha('荒茶'), half processed tea.

 


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