The tunnel roaster is an integral part of the oolong production process. The roaster rotates while the tea leaves are heated and roasted at the desired temperatures. The leaves are routinely taken out by tilting the roaster, then cooled, rolled before roasting them again.
The Oolong ball rolling technique requires packing the tea leaves into a cloth sack (ball) by hand and then utilize a machine to tighten the pressure. The steps are repeated several times, before the leaf assumes a rolled leaf shape. Traditional rolling techniques used to be done solely by hand and these days a small machine is used by most oolong crafters.
Sorting tea by hand using different mesh sizes of sieve. This farmer is based in Shizuoka, Japan and uses the hand sorting method to create a standard for referencing his production batches.
Local farmer harvesting tea leaves in Southern Yunnan, China. Very few old growth tea areas remain in the world today. This tea tree is several hundred years old. The new shoots are quite staunch and need a sharp sickle to cut them, rather than being able to pluck with fingers.
Traditionally, most teas in Japan used to be plucked by hand. These days, Japanese tea is mostly harvested with the use of a mechanical harvesting machine. Only high grades of green teas in Japan such as hand-picked Gyokuro, Sencha, or Matcha are hand plucked and therefore more expensive. There is also a difference in flavor of the tea between hand plucked or machine plucked. Hand plucked tea is smoother, mellower with more fragrance.
In brewing Sencha green tea for a large group, considerable amount of leaf is used. The technique to dispense the leaf from a traditional Senchado tea caddy is unique.
View orthodox style (Hand plucking) of tea. From our recent trip to the China-Burma border, home to remote tea gardens with a ‘semi-wild’ character.
Crafting oolong teas is an artform with tremendous skill involved. Native to Anxi, Fujian province in China and parts of Taiwan. The crafting is a multi-step process. It requires rolling the leaves in cloth sacks and sorting them in successive steps.
Music and Tea, what better pair could there be?. Dr Jiyu Yang, playing the Chinese Pipa at our teahouse inside Lan Su Chinese Garden. We are honored to have him as our resident scholar. Dr Yang teaches music, traditional calligraphy and is a humble poet.