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Premium tea is the culmination of all sorts of elements, from sunshine and soil, to picking, rolling, blending and much more. The journey from plant to cup all affects the final product your customers enjoy.

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Travel around our tea origins

Origin of our premium tea

Tea grows in many regions of the world. However, there are special tea gardens in certain ‘single origin’ places which provide the ideal climate and conditions to grow high quality teas.

 

Naturally, Julius Meinl sources its teas from the world’s most famous tea gardens to be able to bring you superb high-rated tea.

 

Idalgashinna

 

Famous for being one of the pioneers in organic tea cultivation, the Idalgashinna tea garden is in the UVA region of Sri Lanka, approximately 1.200 above sea level.

Happy Valley

 

Founded in 1854, Happy Valley is the second oldest tea estate in Darjeeling, India. It lies at the foot of the Himalaya Mountains. This garden is known for its fine, hand-cropped teas – especially for the second flush Darjeelings plucked in the peak season from June to July.

Jamguri

 

Found in the lush Golaghat district of Assam, India, this tea garden was founded in 1898. It’s named after the “Jamun tree”, an evergreen tree that nicely reflects the richness and beauty of this region. Jamguri is very well reputed for its rich and delicate organic teas from orthodox production.

Production of beautiful teas

The production process is a complex activity with 7 steps, all of which require great care.

Plucking

Tea picking is still done in the traditional way, where tea leaves are handpicked and gathered into wide baskets by the tea pickers. Hand picking ensures that only the best leaves of the plant are collected and used for tea production. The best leaves are actually “two leaves and a bud”, with the leaf bud itself accompanied by two nearby young leaves.

Believe it or not, a picker plucks up to 25kg of green leaves a day, which is about 4-6kg of tea. The picked leaves are directly processed at the plantation to avoid the loss of aroma and quality.

Withering

For approximately 10 – 12 hours, the freshly picked leaves are spread over mats where warm air blows over them. This results in a 30% liquid loss of the tea leaf and preserves its smoothness.

Steaming for Green or Fermenting for Black Tea

This step is a game-changer. It defines whether black or green tea is produced.

  • Green teas are steamed meaning shortly exposing them to high temperatures stops further fermentation. Thus, the tea leaves retain their delicate flavour and green colour.
  • Black teas are fermented. As the leaves are ripped open, the substances in their cells react with oxygen. This is called “rolling” and is usually done by machines. Their colour changes to brown and the teas develop their characteristic black tea taste.

Drying

Drying is necessary to finalize the tea and assure its long storability. In black tea production, it’s the drying that finally stops the fermentation processes.

Nowadays, drying usually happens in large ovens. It’s quite a quick process, taking only 10 to 20 minutes.

Grading/sieving

At this stage, the tea is already “finalized” and can be enjoyed. Yet, tea plantations sort the raw teas into different qualities, also called (leaf) grades. The tea runs through different layers of sieves. As a result, you can differentiate between four main classifications: whole leaves, broken leaves, fannings and dust.

Cupping and blending

Very often, teas are already blended into bigger lot sizes at the tea gardens. This step requires a great deal of experience and is in many cases, based on secret recipes which can be hundreds of years old.

Tea Tasting

Blending means nothing – of course – if it doesn’t achieve the best possible taste. Assuring a premium tea quality is only possible by cup-tasting the teas over and over again.

And that explains why every single tea lot has to be inspected and tried by our Julius Meinl experts in the quality control before it can be purchased.

Packaging tea for impeccable quality

Proper tea packaging and storage are imperative to the shelf life, quality and flavour of the tea. To keep your tea perfectly, here are 4 tips:

 

Odour

Tea easily absorbs all sorts of odours. It must not be stored close to spices, rubbish or any other sources of odour.

 

Light

Make sure the tea is protected from sunlight. It should be kept in a tin or dark cabinet to avoid flavour loss.

 

Moisture

Tea absorbs moisture from the air. Store it away from dishwashers, boiling water and refrigerators.

 

Heat

Avoid placing tea near ovens, stoves or other sources of heat. Our teas are carefully sealed and packed in odour-free materials to ensure the finest quality.

It’s done every day, but is it done properly? There are some basic rules to bear in mind when preparing the perfect cup of tea:

  • Always use fresh water
  • Stick to the recommended steeping times and water temperatures
  • Take your time to find the perfect set-up

 

Generally speaking, a shorter steeping time leads to a lighter, less strong tea, while a longer steeping time helps to develop more intense flavours and more body.

How to brew tea

Black Tea

Black tea is traditionally one of the most popular. The fermentation darkens the tea leaves and the colour varies from copper-brown to black. Black teas usually taste stronger than green teas.

 

Brewing instructions: 1g of tea per 100 ml of water, time of infusion is 3-5 minutes at a temperature around 95-100°C.

Oolong

Oolong is a traditional Chinese tea produced through a unique semi-fermented process. It’s especially popular with tea connoisseurs of South China, preparing it with the Fujian preparation ritual known as the Gongfu tea ceremony.

 

Brewing instructions: 1 g of tea per 100 ml of water, time of infusion is 3-4 minutes at a temperature around 75-80°C.

Green Tea

The various forms of tea leaves, vivid colours of greenish hints and exquisite, refreshing flavour are the distinguishing characters of green tea. It is exposed to only minimal treatment, therefore preserving the maximum of its natural goodness. Originating in China, green tea is deeply rooted in many cultures and traditions throughout Asia.

 

Brewing instructions:

 

1 g of tea per 100 ml of water, time of infusion is 2-3 minutes at a temperature around 75-85°C.

Fruit Tea

A generous amount of mouthwatering fruit pieces, mingled with colourful petals and herbs.

 

Brewing instructions: 1-2 g of tea per 100 ml of water, time of infusion is from 5 to 10 minutes at a temperature of 100°C.

Herbal Tea

The preparation of herbal teas has a very long tradition in Austria. Julius Meinl Tea carries on this heritage, basing some of its creations on old herbal tea recipes. 

 

Brewing instructions: 1-2 g of tea per 100 ml of water, time of infusion is from 5 – 10 minutes at a temperature of 100°C.

Rooibos

Rooibos is a small bush plant which grows in South Africa near the Cederberg Mountains. The beauty of South African nature is fully manifested in the needle-shaped rooibos leaves. 

 

The popular type of ‘rooibos’ has orange-brown dry leaves, thanks to fermentation. And to offer a special taste, tea experts innovate with the unfermented rooibos, known as ‘green rooibos’. 

 

Rooibos is known to be stomach-friendly and does not contain caffeine.

 

Brewing instructions: 1-2 g of tea per 100 ml of water, time of infusion is from 5 to 10 minutes at a temperature of 100 °C.

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