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How Teas Is Made

 

Tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant. At the Luponde estate new plants are propagated from cuttings and these are kept under shade for 18 to 24 months in the nursery. After 1 to 2 months outside, they harden before being ready to be planted into the field. After 4 years (2 in the nursery, 2 in the field) they are ready for picking. The plants are fully mature in year 6. Picking is done all year round, peaking between October and February. They are pruned back completely every 5 years and this is done on a rotation system. Tea plants will produce good quality tea for over 70 years.

All our tea is handpicked, ensuring only the bud and top two leaves are collected

every 7-15 days. For black tea, on arrival at the factory this wet leaf is tipped into troughs with warm air blown from underneath. The leaves are left to wither for 16 to 18 hours, until about 50% of the moisture is left. The withered leaf is then placed in a machine where it is rolled causing the cell walls to break releasing the enzymes within. On contact with the air these oxidise. This method is referred to as ‘Orthodox’. It creates large leaf particles and is used for all Luponde Tea’s black and green teas.

The ‘Unorthodox’ method covers teas broken by a CTC (cut, tear curl) machine. These machines chop the leaves into smaller particles, suitable for modern market demands and used in most tea bags.

The broken leaf is placed on a conveyor belt and moves through a drier which is heated to about 105°C, until the moisture content has been reduced to 3% and the leaves turn a golden russet colour. The leaves are then sorted into grades.

Luponde’s Finest Orthodox Black Tea is a Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe Grade 1

(GFBOP1) and our Golden Tips Orthodox Black Tea is a Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (GFOP). The main difference being the word ‘broken’ which means the Orthodox Black Tea is a smaller leaf to the Golden Tips Orthodox Black Tea. The later has also been created from a different clone of the tea plant giving it a more delicate, brighter and slightly smokey flavour.

For green tea, the wet leaf is immediately steamed to kill the enzymes and prevent oxidisation occurring. The leaves are then cooled quickly and are placed in a rolling machine for 40 minutes, after this they are then placed in the drier at 60°C until the moisture content is 20%. Finally the leaves are rolled again and returned to the drier until the moisture content is just 5%.

For white tea just the buds of the leaf are handpicked and dried in the sun. They are silvery in appearance and have a subtle delicate flavour.