Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tea 101-"tea bag is tea bag, your body can not tell the difference" huh? (part 2)

When the British first established The Assame Company in India, their goal was to create their own supply of teas for the European markets. The Assam area has such characteristics as flat, roughly 300 feet above the sea level, high temperatures, high humidity throughout the year, idealy for mass production of tea leaves!

They adopted all Chinese tea processing, from plucking to drying, which was an extremely labor intensive, time consuming and low production process. For example, traditional tea plucking had many restrictions, such as only same sized leaves should be plucked each time; only few hours a day workers can pluck leaves; leaf plucking can only be done under certain weather conditions etc. The producion was very low thus the tea was quite expensive.

Tea 101-"tea bag is tea bag, your body can not tell the difference" huh? (part 1)
Tea 101-How to care for teapots
Tea 101-Tea blend
Tea 101-The mystery of Iced Tea
Health: How much tea should we drink per day?

That certainly did not stop Europeans' thirst for tea and tea was still in high demand in England and other European countries. The British at The Assam Company later on improved the production process by applying what they learned from the Industrial Revolution in their own country. The efficiency in tea production allows the company to reduce costs, increase production, and expand the market.

(via Smithsonian Institution Research Information System)

Tea bags were invented in the early 20 century in the US, per records. What's next? On another side of the world, CTC (Cut, Tear, Curl, some say Crush, Tear and Curl) method was developed in Assam region in around 1930s, which allowed to manufacture tea in massive production while further lowering costs. Instead of plucking, withering, rolling, fermentation, and drying, or the Orthodox method, CTC method includes plucking, withering, CTC, fermentation, and drying.

The CTC metnod significantly improved the efficiency of the tea production, accelerated oxidation process, and created tea with consistent quality. CTC method is mainly used in black tea region.

 (via Guardian UK)

It seems the "small changes" in the tea processing while the results are completely different!!
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