Saturday, October 30, 2021

Plucking tea leaves

In the tropics, tea leaves are plucked out of the just matured shoots selectively in each of the incessant growing stages of trees. Tea leaves are picked at specific intervals depending on the rate of growth which also differs due to weather, temperature, elevation etc.

Plucking standards has important aspects to determine black tea quality. The plucking standard has a large effect on yield and quality of the tea.

The best quality tea can be produced from tender shoots having a bud and 2 – 3 leaves that are free of physical / mechanical damage and contamination.

Generally, the plucking standard can be explained as fine, medium or coarse. With fine plucking only the first two leaves and the bud are plucked, with coarse plucking standard three or four leaves and the bud are plucked.

Methods of plucking:
*Manual plucking
*Mechanical plucking

Picking of tea done by hand is to preserve the integrity of leaves before harvesting. Hand plucking involves plucking of leaves without damaging the stem. With selective plucking one or two older generations of shoots with 2-3 leaves are removed. However younger generation of shoots are left un-plucked to enhance the ‘sink’ capacity of the bush and also to pluck them as ‘heavier units’ at a subsequent plucking round.

A tea leaf harvesting machine is a device used for easy harvesting of tea leaves with minimum number of laborers. Manual harvesting can again be classified as hand plucking and plucking with the help of scissors.

Tea leaves, whether plucked by hand-shears or by mechanical plucking machine, are not free from admixture of trash such as broken leaves or stalks. These practices inevitably deteriorate the quality of leaves as compared with leaves plucked by hand.

Therefore, the quality of the product is maintained by sorting leaves and rejecting unfavorable matter. If, by such practice, materials are kept homogeneous and the quality of the product might certainly be controlled much more easily throughout the continuous manufacturing process.
Plucking tea leaves

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