Previously I’ve written a post about my visit to the tea capital of Turkey (i.e. Rize). In this post I’m gonna write about a visit I made to a black tea processing factory when I was there. I’ll try to walk you through each step in order to help you visualize the process of turning fresh tea leaves into end products. There are basically five stages of producing black teas: withering, rolling, oxidation, drying and sorting.
Withering was the first stage of processing after freshly picked tea leaves arrive in the factory. At this stage tea leaves are spread out on metal grids and some of the moisture in tea leaves are removed.
Following withering tea leaves are sent to rolling machines you can see below in order to release oils and enzymes in tea leaves.
At the rolling stage, tea leaves are also sent through some sort of mincing machines called Rotorvane in order to roll and break tea leaves further.
At this stage tea leaves are oxidized to make black tea. Rolled tea leaves are put on trays in a humid environment at a temperature varying between 20-30 degrees.
Now tea leaves are ready for drying in order to put an end to oxidation. They are put into metal ovens and keep there around 30 minutes to get them ready for final phase which is sorting.
Now tea leaves are ready for sorting and to be sent for packaging. Best quality is tagged as ‘Number 2’ that is Broken Orange Pekoe. Yet no tea produced by Çaykur is comprised of this tea hundred percent. They mostly blend different grades and make mix of them.