Picking

Our tea leaves are plucked by hand in line with orthodox methods of production and processing. Only the finest, freshest leaves are selected – these 'flushes' appear every 8 - 10 days.

Withering

The tea leaves will begin to wilt soon after picking, with a gradual onset of enzymatic oxidation. Withering is used to remove excess water from the leaves and allows a very slight amount of oxidation. The leaves sometimes lose more than a quarter of their weight in water during withering. The process is also important in promoting the breakdown of leaf proteins into free amino acids and increases the availability of freed caffeine, both of which change the taste of the tea.

Oxidation

For teas that require oxidation, the leaves are left on their own in a climate-controlled room where they turn progressively darker. In this process the chlorophyll in the leaves is enzymatically broken down, and its tannins are released. For light oolong teas 5-40% oxidation, in darker oolong teas 60-70%, and in black teas 100% oxidation. Oxidation is highly important in the formation of many taste and aroma compounds, which give a tea its liquor colour, strength, and briskness.

Fixation

Fixation is required to stop the oxidation process at a desired level. This process is accomplished by moderately heating the tea leaves, deactivating their oxidative enzymes and removing unwanted scents in the leaves, without damaging the flavour of the tea. Traditionally, the tea leaves are panned in a wok or steamed.