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How Tea is Grown

Binny Satin

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Tea grows on Bushes, if left un-pruned they can grow to 18 or 20 feet. That is unmanageable at that height. Pruned Tea Bushes are an average of 36 inches in height. The workers who pick the leaves should be able to reach them at comfortable levels. Two leaves and a bud are picked for production. They are soft and give the most flavors.

The workers who pick the tealeaves are in groups of about 150 to 200. They start at one end and pick one line of bushes at a time. Having risen in the gardens they are experienced in their job. However, they have different groups. Some who have a lot of experience are put in a special group, and are used for special tasks, like plucking at select times for a certain type of tea. First Flush and Second flush are the two very special teas that they are used for.

First and second flush teas are grown at particular times of the year for about 15 days at a time. First Flush as the name implies is the first teas that come up in March. Second Flush is grown in May. When it starts is dependent on weather and soil issues. First and second flush teas have their very own special flavors that will only come during that time of the year. At auction, they fetch a high price depending on the garden. Darjeeling has a pronounced difference in flavor. It also commands the highest prices for its first and second flush teas.

Tea is a very easy to influence, in the sense that it absorbs most odors very fast. Thus, there is no smoking when teas are being plucked. The resultant tea will have a flavor influenced by the smoke, which is not desirable.

Some gardens now still use fertilizers and chemicals. The organic ones do not use anything that is not grown. Thus, they would be able to mulch with cut weeds and other growth. Some plants like eucalyptus give out a distinct odor that is not good for tea and subsequently is not used.

Binny Satin


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