As you may have read in our recent post about how to grow tea, we've been nurturing a much cherished tea plant for the past few years and this spring marks the 1st season we've been able to harvest leaves for processing into dried tea leaves.
For top quality tea, you have to pluck the new spring growth which offers the juiciest, most succulent leaves on the plant — generally you pick the new leaf bud and 1 or 2 of the closest leaves — here we have 1 bud and 1 leaf.
From our 1 tea bush, we managed to harvest around 4 or 5 handfuls of fresh tea leaves.
For this batch we are making green tea. So from here we put the leaves in a 2 tier bamboo steamer for a couple of minutes until the leaves had wilted
When the leaves have wilted, the tea master rolls and shapes the leaves, but we don't have a tea master on hand here in New Zealand, so the leaves were pretty much left el natural.
After shaping, the leaves are then dried either fried on a hot pan or roasted in an oven. We chucked ours in the oven at 220 degrees Celsius for about 20 mins, turning the leaves every now and then to achieve an even dryness throughout the batch of leaves
Below is the final result — the very first batch of Informal Tea's super duper micro produced New Zealand grown & produced artisanal tea.
The whole process took about an hour, and we produced about 4 or 5 grams of dried tea from the 1 tea bush we have.
Working through the process of making tea really makes you appreciate how much work and efficiency much go into producing quality and tea. The tireless craft and the years of wisdom, knowledge and tradition passed down through generations is what makes tea so unique and special!
No we just have to find the right time to sample this teeny, tiny batch of tea!