Green Leaf Reception and Withering 

 
Reception 

When the collection lorries arrive at the tea factory in the afternoon with the green leaf from our farmers or our own managed estates, the bags of green leaf are reweighed to verify the field weights, as it is important for the factory to have accurate weights in order to monitor manufacturing performance. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bags of tea leaf being weighed 

 
 
Withering 

Fresh green leaf is made up approximately 80% water and 20% dry matter. At the end of manufacture, made tea contains less than 2% moisture, meaning that one of the aims of the manufacturing process is to reduce the tea’s moisture content in a controlled manner. 
 
The first stage of the process is to wither the green leaf. We do this by spreading the green leaf on raised and perforated beds called withering troughs. 
 
 
 
 
Ambient air is blown under the troughs by fans. This will have the effect of withering or drying the green leaf provided that the ambient air is sufficiently dry itself. When we have particularly humid days of 95% humidity and above we can pre-heat the ambient air by using steam from the boiler so that the air that enters the trough a little drier. 
 
There are two stages to the withering: chemical and physical withering. Physical withering is the process of reducing the moisture content of the leaf from 80% to about 68%, a process that takes about 12-18 hours, meaning the green leaf remains in the trough house overnight to complete the withering process. During this time there will also be chemical changes taking place in the leaf, enhancing the quality of the made tea in terms of strength, brightness, colour and briskness. 
 
 
The next morning, the withering process is complete and the leaf in the troughs is now termed as “withered leaf”. At this stage we are now ready to commence the manufacture of made tea. 
 
Following this, the leaf goes into the rolling process. Read more > 
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