Premium tea is harvested only by hand. The younger and thinner the sheet, the more expensive the raw materials. Tea picking season runs from May to September. For a seven-hour shift, an experienced specialist can collect 10-12 kilograms. About $ 25 will be paid for this.
A month later, the bush again overgrows with young leaves. During the season, tea is manually harvested about 10 times. At the end of September, the turn of mechanical assembly begins. Such raw materials make tea of lower grades and value.
It turns out that black and green tea are the same bushes. The taste and color of the future drink is determined in production during processing.
“Thick leaves are more suitable for green tea, and from the tender upper leaves you get good black long leaf tea,” explains Nona Kvaratskhelia, manager of the tea plantation.
At the end of the day, tea collection is taken to the factory. She began to work in the late 50s of the last century and provided tea to the entire Soviet Union. Today, production volumes are much smaller. Mostly green tea is produced.
From green raw materials in the future should make black tea of the highest grade. Now in production both Georgian technology and Chinese are used in parallel. It implies the maximum use of manual labor. This is the only way to create an exclusive elite drink.
In special boxes, the sheets fade. This happens at a certain temperature for four to five hours. All this time, the green mass is thoroughly mixed and purged with warm air. It is necessary to dehydrate tea leaves. They must lose up to 55% moisture. Only then do they begin to twist them.
“At this stage, leaf cells are destroyed. It defines color and aroma. The more cells we destroy, the better. Then comes the fermentation process, and the tea turns black, ”says Goneri Salia.
Fermentation is the secret and magic of black tea. At this time, the basic chemical processes of tea conversion, the formation of its taste and color, occur. The process is closely monitored by a specialist. Any changes are important. When a special aroma and golden color appear, the tea can be dried.
HAPPY Tea Party
About 32 hours pass from the tea leaf collected on the plantation to the finished product. It is amazing that tea collected from the same bushes, thanks to various cooking technologies, is significantly different in taste.