by LANKA CEYLON TEAS LTD .
Tea, of the variety called Black Tea, Green
Tea, and Oolong Tea, is derived from the same
young tender leaves and buds of the plant "Thea sinensis",
a close kin to the plant Camellia. The preference for tea as a refreshing
natural beverage dates back to 2737 B.C. when it is said that the
Chinese Emperor, Shen Nung , discovered and brewed the worlds
first cup of tea.
OF DRINKING TEA
Tea is a zero calorie beverage , containing a natural source
of vitamins and mineral nutrients that aids growth , digestion and
a sense of well-being . It is the most consumed beverage in the
world next to water.
, recent researched dietetic discovery suggests that tea is very
rich in dietary antioxidant flavonoids than other fruits and vegetables
. Antioxidant flavonoids protect the chemistry in human cells from
harmful free radicals that damage cells, weakens the
immune system and accelerates aging.
also suggests that because of the many naturally healthful attributes
in Black Tea , those who drank more than four cups of tea a day
had a 69 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a reduced
risk of several types of cancer, including oral, digestive , lung
The tea plant grows at altitudes from near sea-level, to 6000
feet and above. The flavour, taste , and colour of the brewed beverage
varies significantly with the altitude at which the plant is grown
. Teas grown at lower altitudes brew a darker coloured beverage
, whereas teas grown at higher altitudes - about 3000 feet and above
- brew a bright, lighter coloured beverage with an abundance of
flavour , delicious taste and rich quality. The higher the altitude
of growth, the more pronounced are these finer qualities in tea.
Although tea is cultivated in many regions of the world and
originates from the same plant species , six major factors interact
naturally with one another in combination to influence the final
quality of the tea:
1. Strain of
the tea plant.
2. Soil composition
3. Extent of sunshine and air temperature
4. Extent of humidity in the air
5. Altitude at which it is grown and produced
6. Type of manufacture, processing and grading
As the above six factors vary in the many tea producing countries
in the world , teas of differing brightness, flavour, colour and
taste get produced. Because Sri Lanka (Ceylon) has a naturally well
balanced and conducive combination of these major factors, it has,
for over 125 years been acclaimed as the producer of the worlds
Only the two tender leaves and bud of each of the several young
shoots of the tea plant are necessary for the production of the
best grades of tea. Each new growth of young shoots are hand-picked
at intervals of 8 to 10 days throughout the year. However, during
the process of picking by workers of varying skills and agility,
some mature leaves and stems are unavoidably harvested. Consequently,
several grades of tea are produced, with each grade reflecting the
leaf quality harvested.
It takes as much as five pounds of the harvested leaf to produce
one pound of Black Tea
The harvested leaves are spread thinly on perforated trays and
remain for nine or more hours with fresh mountain air flowing over
the leaves to reduce the excess leaf moisture. The withered leaves
are then subjected to a circular motioned, weight pressured rolling
process to cause the leaf cells to rupture for oxidation of its
juice to commence and also to twist and break-up the leaves into
Controlled oxidation is essential to bring out the intrinsic brightness,
colour, flavour and taste of the juice in the tender leaves and
buds to their best potential, at which stage, the green leaves change
in colour to that of a coppery tone. The leaf particles are then
subjected to a short period of controlled heat to stop further oxidation,
at which stage, the coppery coloured leaf particles turn black and
hence referred to as Black Tea.
Tea is then graded according to its originally harvested leaf
quality and uniformity of size. The best grades produced are referred
to and sold as Primary Grades and the others as Off-Grades.
Primary Grades are:
2. Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings
are many, such as: Fannings, Dust, Broken Pekoe, Broken Mixed, etc.
tea merchants, blenders and packers recognizing the superior quality
of Ceylon tea, frequently resort to using some Ceylon tea for blending
in quality into teas of other origins.
However, the vigorous agitation during the blending process bruises
the leaf particles of black tea and exposes them to air moisture
which sets in process the further oxidation of the tea. This destroys
much of the intrinsic flavour, taste and quality characteristics
of the originally selected Ceylon tea, resulting in the noticeable
disappointment in quality of the blended product when prepared and
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