Traditional Tea Making Process at Dong Son
The tea plants are classified on the type of plant, the overall appearance of the dry tea leaves, and even on the color of the liquor of the tea. However, a more scientific process is used in the classification of the tea which is based on the making and processing of the tea leaves.. The traditional tea making processes continue to be in practice until today across the leading tea producing regions of the world. We, at Dong Son, aim to deliver the finest quality of tea extracts by processing with intricate care and attention.
Classification of Teas
From just one tea plant, it is possible to derive as many as six different types of teas: yellow tea, green tea, black tea, oolong tea, white tea and the post-fermented tea. Each type of the tea can be further classified on the basis of their styles which would result from the modification in the processing methods. The different types of teas are also classified on the basis of the type of tea plant, the cultivar, and even on the intent of the tea maker. At Dong Son, we offer all the varieties of exquisitely-flavored tea to suit all tastes and preferences.
Traditional Tea Processing Techniques Carried Out at Dong Son
We, at Dong Son, aim to deliver the finest quality of tea in measures of taste and fragrance. Preparation of the supreme quality of tea is an art. We are proud to proclaim that we have mastered that art and prepare our tea in the most efficient traditional method of tea processing. The individual process of traditional tea making at Dong Son is carried in a climate-controlled and monitored environment to avoid any spoilage due to the presence of excessive moisture or even the fluctuations in the temperature.
Some of our leading processes in the traditional tea making include:
Withering: This process is referred to as the drooping of the fresh green tea leaves. The main aim of the withering process is to dry out the tea leaves sans any moisture left in them. This is done to promote the rich flavor in the tea leaves. Withering can be done outdoors under direct sunlight. However, to protect the fine quality of the delicate tea leaves, we at Dong Son, go for doing controlled withering that is carried out indoors. In the process of withering, the freshly plucked out tea leaves are laid down in rows of troughs. Then, the leaves are subjected to strong hot air force from the underneath surface of the troughs.
As the withering process takes place, the moisture level of the tea leaves drops by as much as 30 percent. As a result of this, the tea leaves now appear limp and soft. This is a perfect setting for their rolling. In addition to this, the volatile elements in the tea leaves like caffeine and essential flavors start intensifying.
Fixing: This is another important process in the traditional tea making procedure at Dong Son. The fixing process is also referred to as the “killing greens”. This is the process in which the enzymatic browning of the sagged leaves is controlled through the application of heat. During the traditional tea making process, it is assumed that the more time it takes for fixing the leaves, the more aromatic the tea leaves would appear. The fixing process is carried out through the methods of steaming, baking, pan firing, or even with the use of the heated tumblers. The application of the steam heat fixes the tea leaves quite quickly than pan firing. As a result of the differences in fixing, the steamed leaves taste “green” and the pan fired tea leaves taste “roasted”.
Oxidation: This is a vital process to be carried out during the traditional tea making process at Dong Son. The process of oxidation causes the browning of the tea leaves. As a result of this, the taste and flavor of the particular tea leaves intensify. From the moment the tea leaves are plucked, the cells inside the tea leaves are continuously oxidized. As a result of this, the volatile compounds found in the tea leaves undergo several chemical reactions. This is the stage when the polyphenolic oxidase namely, thearubigin and thealfavin, start to form within the tea leaves. Thearubigin is responsible for offering depth to the final liquor, while thealfavin is responsible for imparting briskness and brightness to the tea.
At Dong Son, the traditional tea makers perform controlled oxidation to bring out the essential flavors and essence in the tea leaves. Controlled oxidation is carried out in a big indoor space where the temperature of around 25-30 degree Celsius is maintained along with a humidity of around 60-70%. In the controlled oxidation process, the withered tea leaves are spread out on elongated shelves. Here, the leaves are left to ferment by themselves for a certain period of time.
As a result of the controlled oxidation carried out at Dong Son, the tea leaves undergo a phase of complete transformation. In the end, they parade a strong essence and aroma that tends to entirely differ from the non-orthodox processed tea leaves.
Rolling: This process of the traditional tea making process is concerned with giving proper shapes to the processes tea leaves into a compact form. During this process, the fixed or the oxidized tea leaves are gently rolled down a roller machine. Depending on the particular style, the tea leaves are given different shapes like rolled pellets, kneaded or wiry. As the rolling process takes place, the essential oils of the tea leaves ooze out. This tends to intensify the flavor of the tea leaves even more. In the traditional rolling process, it is believed that the tightly rolled the tea leaves are, the longer they are bound to retain their flavor and freshness.
Drying: The tea leaves need to be kept moisture-free to impart their characteristic taste and aroma. Therefore, during the traditional tea making process at Dong Son, the tea leaves are dried at certain stages during the processing methods. The proper drying of the tea leaves enhances their taste and essence and also ensure the long life of the tea leaves. The proper drying of the tea leaves brings down the moisture content to as much as 1%. To achieve the desired drying of the tea leaves, the tea makers at Dong Son fire and roast the leaves at a lower temperature for a fixed period of time. It is imperative to take care while drying of the tea leaves as when the leaves are dried too early, the leaves might turn harsh and abrasive.
Stem Removal: The stem removal process is done more in the technical manner in which the tea leaves are fed to a conveyor belt an d are scanned by the infrared rays to distinguish the bulky rolled leaves from the smaller tea particles. Then, these are separated into distinct chambers that disperse the leaves from their shoots. The smaller unwanted shoots and crumbs are then discarded to results into finer forms of tea.
Aging: This is in the case with some specific tea leaves that are subjected to aging and fermentation. Some of the tea leaves are aged and fermented for years, just like wine, to extract the essential taste and aroma from them.
The traditional tea making process carried out at Dong Son is aimed at offering the supreme quality of tea to the tea lovers. All our processes are carried out by experienced tea makers and under super hygienic conditions. We aim to deliver the best essence and aroma of tea to our customers. Be enlightened by tasting our tea!