Tea. We drink it every day, it’s so easy and convenient to us, and our cupboards are constantly stocked, ready to flick the kettle on and get brewing a perfect cup of goodness. But have you ever actually sat down and thought about how those little leaves actually found their way into your cup?
It seems so commonplace that I think most of us barely give it a second thought. But there’s actually a huge process behind the whole production of tea, with a whole lot of love going into every cup you drink.
So all the way over in Sri Lanka, a little way away from us here in Oz, there are literally 16,500 hectares of pristine Origin Tea lands, making what we do, actually possible.
Within all those hectares are rows upon rows of tea plants, which, when they reach three to five years of age are ripe enough to be picked by our tea pluckers. At Origin Tea, we live by the ‘two leaves and a bud’ strategy, ensuring that only the finest, most ripened tea leaves are taken and allowed to become a part of our blends. Our pluckers move through the field at a steady pace, ensuring they don’t miss quality leaves and moving with precision that has been perfected over years of plucking. Throwing each leave effortlessly over their shoulder (sort of like people do with salt to ward off evil spirits) each tea leaf lands in the basket harnessed to their back by a tie that balances perfectly across the crown of their head. Once the basket is filled, the pluckers make their way back to the collection site, where their bags are weighed and recorded and then taken off to begin the process that turns them from humble leaf to delicious cup of goodness.
After the leaves have been collected, they are put out on large drying racks for the ‘withering’ part of the process. 1350kg of tealeaves can be spread out at one time, which are then dried to 45% over 18 hours, being rotated every 4 hours to make sure the withering takes place evenly.
From here, the tea is moved in 250kg lots onto a roller, which then rolls the leaves over and over, breaking them down and crushing the leaves, allowing the chemical reactions to naturally take place within the tea.
CUTTING & FERMENTATION
After the rolling stage is complete, the leaves are moved to the cutting machine, where they are cut into smaller pieces. The larger particles stay on the roller for longer, being sifted through and re-cut until they are of desired size, which is when they are moved to the marble and left to take on their natural process of fermentation.
After fermentation the leaves change to more of a light coppery colour as a result of the natural oxidisation process. It is at this point that the leaves start to give off the aroma we all know and love, making the whole room smell like one big teacup.
JUST A TAD MORE DRYING…
After this, the final stage involves further drying out the leaves at 110°C, for 21 minutes, bringing them to stage that we associate with, the way would see it in one of our Origin Tea Pyramid Teabags.
From here, the larger fibres are filtered out and only the perfect-sized, ready to infuse tealeaves are packaged up, and sent straight into your waiting teacups, ready to give you what we consider to always be the perfect Origin brew.
So who would have thought!? So much love going into one box of loose-leaf tea or one of our pyramid tea bags. So much care and time going into bringing you what is known and loved not only here in Australia, but all over the world. We hope you enjoy!