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Thread: Tea leaf harvesting machine - video

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    Jon
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    Sorry I was having a nap...

    Good one Jon!
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    Hi, various forms of tea cutting/plucking machines have been tried over the years and none of them produce a decent final tea product. Ideally when tea is plucked (by hand) the top two leaves and the bud are taken and there is only damage to the stem. When the leaves are cut in the field (as per machine) it starts the fermentation process which would be uneven and then produce a low grade product.

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    Ochiai is not a large company but been around since 1919 in Japan making shears and then industrial type machines in the 50'-60's to these today. The one above is medium sized and their product line covers the gambit of tools and machines. Kind of remind me of the Pellenc grape harvesting stuff around here.

    Not sure what are the best methods for harvest of tea but it makes sense that hand pinching would be sustainable and probably produce better tea, but that's got to cost even in 3rd world countries and with the population and amount of tea/coffee drinkers there has to be some automation compromise to keep the hoards at bay, I would think.

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    You are right PJ, a lot more of the tea estates have moved to mechanised cutters due to labour costs and even some of the estates that are still plucking by hand will now pluck 3 and sometimes 4 leaves and the bud on the stems to bulk yield. However this does produce a lower quality product due to the woodiness of the stem. The tea which is now mainly used for blending is generally still plucked as 2 leaves and the bud, with a lot of your more expensive teas (normally sold as loose leaf and not tea bags) from this same method.

    I guess it is a lot like most thing, the better care put into manufacture results in a higher cost of production and thus the end product would be at a premium.

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    Tonyg,

    My wife is the tea drinker and just bought some relatively expensive (for us) Rishi Earl Grey. So I had a look and did find a few stems, though not many in the sample. The impressive thing to me was the fair number of buds and amazing aroma of the "essential oil pressed from real bergamot citrus fruits grown in Calabria, Italy"! My guess is they do a pretty good job of harvesting properly and the cost is similar to a decent bottle wine but more yield per. With this quality and to be a bit frugal she can get up to 3 pressings from a single tablespoon.

    I've told her to just single serve it because anymore, Life seems too short to drink bad wine or tea! but she rarely listens to my Leo sensibilities.

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    There are tea drinkers and there are those of us who cannot stand the odor of the swill. Jane likes a cup of tea now and then it is the 1 time when she will venture close to the stove any more she knows that if she wants anything other than bag tea she is going to have to boil it herself. I'll put a pan on the stove and light it but it is up to her to spoon the foul smelling weeds out of the canister. I'd rather clean up bar puke than smell tea, and nothing in the world smells worst than chunks from some drunk
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank S View Post
    There are tea drinkers and there are those of us who cannot stand the odor of the swill. Jane likes a cup of tea now and then it is the 1 time when she will venture close to the stove any more she knows that if she wants anything other than bag tea she is going to have to boil it herself. I'll put a pan on the stove and light it but it is up to her to spoon the foul smelling weeds out of the canister. I'd rather clean up bar puke than smell tea, and nothing in the world smells worst than chunks from some drunk
    Well that is a pretty clear testimonial of your thoughts on Tea and Tea Drinkers.
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    Nope If folks want to drink tea that's fine with me once it is brewed 80% of the foul to me odor is gone.
    Over in the middle east everyone thinks you should sit and drink tea with them before any business is conducted. They quickly found out my dislike for tea and would offer me Nescafe or Arabic coffee instead. Arabic coffee has a ritual involved with it the small glass just slightly smaller than the 3 oz tea glass is always held in the right hand and never put down except to refill when finished drinking you jiggle it in your hand and place it upside down I preferred it or Turkish coffee
    They do have 1 drink they call a tea but there is no actual tea leaves in it it is made with the petals of a purple hibiscus, no tea odor or taste it wasn't bad as far as that goes. At least I could tolerate it but it was a ceremonial drink for special occasions or is you were feeling ill


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