CTC - Cut, Tear and
Curl describes a machine, which literally cuts, tears
and curls the withered leaf, breaking the leaf veins.
This releases the juices or enzymes of the leaf and completes
the second stage of manufacture. Today, the term CTC,
or Unorthodox tea is applied to all types of manufacture
other than Orthodox. It is used in the second stage of
manufacture where the tea leaves are broken into particles
before fermentation and drying.
Drying - see Firing.
Fermentation - the tea trade term for the third stage of tea manufacture
whereby the leaf enzymes oxidise on contact with air.
The broken and crushed leaf is laid out on trays or in
troughs and slowly, as oxidization takes place, changes
from green to a rusty brown. For black tea, the oxidisation
period can take up to four hours, for a semi-fermented
tea the leaf is fired or dried before oxidation is complete.
Firing - the tea trade term
for the drying of tea after oxidation, firing forms the
fourth stage of manufacture. The oxidised leaf, or partially
oxidised leaf in the case of semi-fermented tea, is tipped
into an oven on a conveyor belt, which carries the fermented
leaf through the oven, slowly drying it. It comes out
of the oven as black tea,
or semi-green in the case of semi-fermented tea.
LTP - Lawrie Tea Processor, a modern CTC machine.
Orthodox - a machine, which
takes its name from the first mechanised method used in
the second stage of tea processing, that rolls the withered
leaves thus breaking the veins and releasing the leaf
enzymes. Tea made by this method is known as Orthodox
Packing - this is the final
stage of manufacture. After sorting, each grade of tea
is packed into either tea chests or tea sacks. Each chest
or sack is stamped with the name of the estate, grade
of tea and weight.
Rotovane - a modern machine for the second stage of manufacture,
which produces a CTC tea.
Sorting - the fifth stage of manufacture. The dried leaf is sorted
mechanically by sifting the different leaf size particles
or grades through different size meshes.
Tasting - the sixth stage of manufacture where all the grades
of tea are tasted after each make to maintain strict quality
control at all making stages and to ensure consistent
Withering - the first stage of tea manufacture in the tea factory.
Plucked leaf is spread on tables or trays and left to
wither in the natural warm air. Today, in some tea factories,
this process is aided by warm air fans built under the
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