Oct 04 2012 In Tea Journal By Kenneth Roberts
Robo Tea Vs Leaves with Love
Here at Discover Teas one of the things we pride ourselves on is the quality of our teas. When we began the process of choosing our teas, one of the things we decided was to exclusively carry hand-picked teas (Orthodox) as opposed to CTC or machine harvested teas. Machine harvested teas are just what it sounds like; a machine cuts the sides and top of the bushes. This leads to a large amount of stems, and the quality of the leaf is often less than optimal. While there are many machine picked teas that are quite tasty, there is a key element missing for us, Love and the human touch.
There is an art to selecting the perfect leaves for a perfect tea. When teas are hand-picked, the picker has been trained to look for specific qualities in the leaves for each specific style of tea such as size, shape, maturity and the area of the bush from which it is selected. Even the age of the plants from different areas of the plantation are a factor in which style of tea will be processed. The human element of discernment, care in handling and being able to pick swiftly are not skills a machine can learn. For some styles of tea only the most experienced harvesters are allowed to pick the crop to insure the highest quality.
Silver Needles for example, which come from the newest growth on the plant, are strictly unopened buds selected for uniformity in length and coloration. White tea leaves are not just baby leaves; shape, size, color and the stage of development are very important. For green teas or leaves that will become a black tea, there are certain stages of leaf development that are crucial. How veiny the leaves are, how woody the stems are, how much photosynthesis has occurred will all have an effect on the flavor and even the color of the liquor in the cup.
The teas we carry are not just a beverage; they are an expression of someone’s pride in their work and the product they help bring to market. We carry forth that pride in presenting you with a quality tea that you know is harvested, processed and brought to you out of love for great tea.