1. Growing tea

The White buildings dotted amongst the lush green include not only manufacturing plant, employing the latest dying and processing  machinery, but also housing for the estate workers. There is a tradition of caring for the workforce, on which the success of the  estate depends. There are schools for the children, and hospitals  or clinics to provide medical care. With only powerful elephants trained to help with clearing and construction, the men who founded this great industry changed the face of the rugged landscape. Today instead of their original rather haphazard rows of bushes, planting follows the natural contours to help conserve  the soil, and there are more trees planted amongst the tea to minimize erosion and to help replenish the soil with essential nitrogen.

2. Plucking Tea 

Machinery has been tried for plucking tea, but it is unlikely for the  foreseeable future that anything will replace  the human skills of the  mainly female workforce as  they  pass between the  rows of bushes, deftly gathering  the two leaves and one unopened leaf bud which must be selected to ensure the final product is of the required quality.
An  experienced tea  plucker  will gather up to 60 lbs of tea in a day, tossing handfuls of shoots  into the basket on her back. She will be paid in part on the quality of leaves harvested.

3. Processing

It is important to the quality of the end product  that the  newly plucked green leaves should begin the manufacturing process in the freshest possible condition. In the factory leaves are placed in long metal troughs and powerful electric fans force warm air through from below. This method enables a large crop  to be withered in about eight hours. The leaves are then passed through rolling machines which break up the cell structure and release the natural juices enzymes which give the tea its characteristic flavour. Another result of the rolling stage is that the leaves become twisted.
The sticky lumps of leaf  from the rollers have to be broken up to allow even fermentation. After 3 hours of fermentation the leaf turns a coppery brown color through the absorption of oxygen. Finally fermentation is stopped and the leaves are dried by a "firing" process tea is packed in to  chests, specially constructed  of plywood with an aluminum foil lining, which will keep the tea dry and free from extraneous taints until it is required for packing or blending.

4. Tea Auctions

Over ninety per cent of Ceylon Tea is sold at the weekly auctions in Colombo which is the largest tea auction centre in the world. It is before the buying and selling at auction, and again when the final product is to be blended for packeting, that the highly experienced tea tasters come into their own.

5. Tea Exports

Tea exports from Sri Lanka are loaded at the port of Colombo

6. Tea - part of life

With the growth of scientific research over the centuries of tea's popularity, many treatises  have been written  rhapsodizing over the drink's restorative, even curative properties. While much of this has subsequently been proved to be nonsense, Those early morning cups of tea, mid-morning tea breaks, leisurely cups after meals, do all help to offset life's tensions and help us through a busy day. And besides, tea can help you keep fit and slim.



an efusion creation 2004