How is Tea harvested?
Tea is one of the most sought after beverages in the world and it is consumed from Asia to America. There are many varieties of tea and so many tea producing regions across the world.
Tea, scientifically known as Camellia Sinesis, can be grown in tropical or subtropical areas. Tea plants prefer an acidic soil. The plant can be grown at any altitude. Currently, tea is cultivated from sea level and up to altitudes of 7000 feet. Best teas are grown in cooler climates and those that are grown at higher elevations are considered of top quality, they grow more slowly and comes with complex flavours.
When a tea plant reaches the age of three, it is generally considered that the plant is mature enough and harvesting would begin and continue for many years. It is only when a plant begins to flush, the picking is started, in the right time while assuring that the leaves are large enough yet not very old. Always the two leaves and the buds are been picked to make the best black teas and green teas. The bud alone, known as the silver tip, is picked to make very special teas like White Tea- one of those rarest teas in the world.
Tea is handpicked mainly because it preserves the quality and freshness of it. Today, most countries use machines to harvest tea which is actually reducing the quality of tea. And this is why Ceylon Tea is considered best because Sri Lanka is one of those countries that continues to handpick tea and produce it in the true artisanal way, respecting the old age practices.
Tea plants are being pruned often throughout the year. Pruning helps to keep the plant younger, produce new shoots and increase harvest. Tea pluckers pick the tea leaves, put them in a large wicker basket and once the basket is full, they are being taken into the tea processing plant which is located on the tea plantation itself. Tea processing plants are built in the tea plantation itself because leaves must go through oxidization and oxidization is essential in producing real tea. Oxidization helps in creating different flavours and aromas in tea. When making tea, tea experts take close control of the oxidization process to create the tea that they desire to have.
Tea experience doesn’t begin the moment you start drinking the tea. It encapsulates old age traditions and methods that help to fine-tune its flavour, freshness and the aroma. The true experience in tea is respecting the true ways of growing the leaves, harvesting and producing. A slight change that one does to the production process can either make tea something exquisite or horrible. Next time you drink tea, take some time to know if your tea has been made in the true artisanal way because it really matters.