From plantation to cup
Tea leaves used to be picked by hand, but today special shears with a collection bag are used, which makes the work easier. A good picker can bring in up to 500 kg of fresh tea leaves per day. The harvest time runs from May to October in three phases.
Fresh tea leaves contain up to 70 per cent cell water. The process of wilting reduces this proportion to 30–35 per cent. The tea leaves are placed in large containers and dried for up to seven hours by huge ventilators at a constant temperature of 21 degrees Celsius.
In the rolling stage that follows, the tea leaves are broken up using rollers. Oxygen reaches the cell sap that leaks out and a shaker or sieving machine breaks up the clumps of wet leaves. The process of fermentation then begins, i.e. the enzyme and other ingredients in the tea leaves react with the oxygen. The tea changes colour and acquires its characteristic smell and flavour.
Drying then follows on metal conveyor belts, where the leaves are blasted with hot air of up to 90 degrees Celsius. This is how it obtains its typical, dark brown to black colouring. The finished tea is then transported to the sieve. In the sorting department, the tea is sieved using special sieving equipment and sorted according to strength. The tea is sorted into leaf tea (sieved/broken tea) and small-leaf tea. The semi-finished products are filled into standard sacks and sent to the storage area.
From there, the tea is transported to packaging plants in Rize, Ankara and Istanbul. Production is carried out in accordance with Turkish food law and the TS EN ISO 9001:2000 quality management standard. It is transported to nine regional directorates, from where the tea enters national or international retail and finally ends up as black tea, green tea or organic tea in shops and in mugs and cups.