Monday, January 14, 2013

Sri Lanka + TEA!

Sri Lanka is a major exporter of fine teas.  The central area of the island is full of tea plantations, and while alas we didn't get to see any in person (next trip?), we did visit a "tea factory" in Kandy where they explained the tea making process to us.  (and sold us some tea at lovely white-face tourist prices, but hey, worth it for the education) 

Kind of neat to see if you're a tea drinker, which we are, so here you go.... 

When the picked leaves come in from the plantation they are left here to dry, curl up and lose weight ...

Then they move it around and let it ferment for awhile, that is what turns it brown...

Then they get this kind of mushy fermented stuff that has to go in a commercial dryer

My apologies, I think this is a tea dryer

I think this is tea with still some stems and things in it....

This is a sorter which shakes the tea through a series of different gauge screens both to get rid of the stems and to separate the "grades".  The larger the leaf bit still intact, the better the quality and the higher the price.
Lots of tea.  Open.  In crates.  Alarming thing to think about.  Let's hope they don't have rats..

Grades of tea, from top right - orange pekoe, FP (flowery pekoe), BOP (Broken Orange Pekoe) and BOPF (Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe),  Dust (only sold to the local market, very low grade),  Gold and Silver tips include just the tips (leaf buds) of the tea, I think that is considered "white tea", then there is green tea at the end.  If you're really curious

Having a free cup of tea after our tour.  Something good for Marsh to do while Cindy shops at the (overpriced) little store.  Same thing throughout the world.... "exit through the gift shop".  :)

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