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  Tea Manufacturing Glossary
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 tea.

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 making standards.

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 withering area.
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