Our Quality Standards
We celebrate Ceylon Tea and it's differences that can be achieved harnessing the natural goodness in the twp leaves and bud of the Tea plant - Camelia sinensis by being able to offer our consumers the well-known orthodox Black tea, but also CTC and Rotovane processed types. All the grades that are available in the manufacturing process are also included in our tea range. This covers the Green tea range too.In addition to giving better value to our more discerning customers, we have created the Organic range with all the above-mentioned leaf grades.
To diversify the product range further, we add pure natural flavour extracts in liquid form or fine or coarse cut from fruits, flowers, spices.
As our customers are the most important stakeholders, we apply special precautions and attention to the processing, packaging in our fully automated factory.All materials used are bio-degradable.
Our factory is certified with ISO 22000, Organic EU, Organic USDA, NOP certifications.We apply consolidated quality and traceability procedures to preserve the organoleptic and nutritional characteristics of our main and ancillary ingredients.
Harvesting is done by regularly plucking the two tender leaves and the bud in cycles of 5 -7 day periods. The first step in tea manufacturing is to reduce the moisture content in the leaves to 45-50% by withering. This is done by spreading the leaves on troughs and warm air blown assisted by the wind that passes through the lofts of the factory.
The leaf is then rolled in specially designed Rollers for about 20 minutes to twist the leaf as well as break up the cells inside for oxidation process to commence. By adjusting the pressure onto the rollers the leaf can either get a light roll to retain the full leaves ( as in low-grown manufacture) or increased pressure to get a hard roll where the leaf gets broken more ( as in the high grown and medium estates) The leaf is then spread on tables for the oxidation or “fermentation” process to continue for about 45 minutes to one hour where the leaf changes colour from green to brown due to tannin being formed. This process is very stringently controlled to ensure oxidation is limited by controlling the temperature and humidity.
To stop the oxidation process, the semi-processed leaves are dried or fired by sending them through a drier when the moisture is reduced to 3% and the tea turns black at the temperature of around 113 F.
The manufacturing is now complete and the leaf is sorted out according to their sizes by sending them through a series of sifters. The manufacturing process converts 100kgs green leaf to 22 kgs of made black tea.
The main leaf grades are:
- Orange Pekoe (OP) – A well twisted whole leaf tea retaining the full goodness of the leaf,
- Orange Pekoe A (OPA) – The twist is less than OP and more bold in appearance.
- Pekoe –Rolled full leaf in the shape of a “ball”
- Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP) – Broken leaf during the rolling process of semi leaf size.
- Broken Orange Pekoe Fanning (BOPF) – The leaf size smaller than the BOP
- Dust – The smallest particles that come out through the bottom sifter.
During processing , fibre and stalks are removed as much as possible but there will be some quantity with the brown contents.This is referred as “off grades” and is classified according to leaf size as:
- Pekoe Fanning (PF)
- Broken Pekoe (BP)
- Pekoe Dust (PD)
There are a few special grades in addition to above, mainly produced by lowgrown estates, where the bud which turns “white” or “yellow” in colour is present and these grades are referred to as “Flowery” such as Flowery Orange Pekoe (FOP), FBOP and FBOPF based on leaf size.
Characteristics of Cup and Leaf Quality
The brewed liquor and appearance of the processed black tea differs according to the method of manufacture and agro-climatic conditions. The intensity of sun’s rays and wind plays an important part in the tea grown in mountainous areas. (referred to as highgrown teas 4000ft above sea level) Dry, warm weather with low night temperatures as seen in the Nuwara Eliya, Dimbula and Uva regions in the high elavations are conducive to produce teas with good aroma, special natural unique seasonal flavor with strong liquors. During the rainy period the quality declines with more “weathery” or “plain” teas being the result. Thus the seasonal good teas are produced from January to March in the western (Dimbula) side of the island whilst in the eastern (Uva) side gets good weather during july/august period. Nuwara Eliya teas get benefits from both seasons depending on which side of mountain range the plants/estates are located.
Medium grown teas ( between 2000 to 4000 ft) get average weather through out with only the rainy and dry periods. The teas have a strong cup with good colour.
Lowgrown teas are classified as those grown from sea level to 2000 ft, have an appearance of being blacker with strong liquor and a darker cup.
The strength of the liquor depends on the leaf size ( the smaller the leaf the more stronger the cup) and the time taken to brew the tea. It is recommended that the tea be brewed for 3-5 minutes depending on the strength of the cup as required by the consumer. For professional tasting, the ideal time is 5-6 minutes, with stirring of the liquid after a 3 minute interval.
The whole leaf teas such as OP, OPA and Pekoe retain the goodness of the full leaf and is considered as being the best by connoisseurs.
The small leaf varieties are used in the preparation of teabags due to their quick brewing ability and strong liquors.
By broad classification, in Asian regions, tea is mainly consumed with milk and sugar and a strong cup is preferred. Hence use of the small leaf varieties such as BOPF and Dust grades.
In the Middle East, the tea is almost “cooked” in a constantly boiling pot where tea is added from time to time and consumed in small cups . For this purpose the preferred leaf size is the whole leaf variety. Russia and former CIS countries too prefer the whole leaf tea.
In the western countries and Australia/New Zealand the preferred taste is for the medium and high grown teas with aroma and flavor as they are used to a brew with orange- golden appearance consumed without milk and even without sugar. Japan and countries such as Holland and Canada in the northern most belt prefer a lighter cup , Nuwra Eliyas and Dimbulas being their selection.
The preferences of consumers and the strategies adopted by marketers is evolving constantly and demand is changing with innovative products.
From the traditional “English” way of brewing tea in a leisurely fashion using “loose tea” in a teapot, when convenience was more essential the teabag was introduced more than 60 years ago. The size and shape of the bag metamorphosed into various shapes from a single chamber without string and tag to one with string and stapled tag and then onto the double chambered bag , increasing the surface area for better and quicker brewing with heat sealed string and tag eliminating the metal staple for health reasons. All these bags required small size particles of tea. The round tea bag also was an outcome of these innovations.
As consumers demanded more special teas to savour the delightful goodness of the whole leaf from well-known tea growing areas ( Darjeerling, Assam, Nuwara Eliya, Uva and Dimbulas ), a special bag was developed to fit in the bigger sized leaf. Thus the pyramid bag with string and tag came into existence.
The younger generation was introduced to tea mixes with fruit , flower and dessert flavours as well as herbal blends, using natural fruit and herbs in larger sized particles. The pyramid bag was the answer for all these mixes.
The packaging too changed from the traditional aluminium foil wrapped units with a pasted label to foil pouches, printed tins, sachets, tetra packs, cans and ceramic ware to attract the consumers and give them variety to the upward mobile market segments. Presentation and gimmicks were taking an important aspect of marketing to woo customers.
With this change, tea consumption too changed with recipes for iced tea, tea sorbets and smoothies being introduce into the food service sector.
Tea is served in a variety of ways at restaurants and cafes.
- The traditional way of “loose” tea brewed in a pot and served with hot water, milk and sugar separately.
- A cup with hot water with one teabag or a selection of pure tea or a variety fruit, flowers or herbal mixes with sugar separately. The more upmarket the place, the method of making available the sugar differs from serving it in a bowl to sachets or cubes alongwith other ways of presentation.
- Iced tea in a tall glass garnished with mint or lemon etc
- Tea Sorbets of both green or black tea
- Tea Smoothies of both black and green tea with mixes of fruits, juices, spices etc
- Tea Sherbets of both green and black tea with other mixes.