The tea experience being very educational and involving inspired us to open our own tea estate for tourists who would be interested in knowing about how a tea leaf makes it to their tea cup. The tea experience is a complete insight into how our master hands are working from the plantation of the tea to the final aroma. It is a complete process from the tea nursery to the final aroma. The Nya Sylee and Sylee tea estate is spread across 2100 hectares in total with an annual yield of 2 million kgs of tea.
The ready plants are planted in the fields. Normally, planting can be done in April-June and September-October or October-November with adequateirrigation. Periods of heavy rains are avoided. Only healthy plants 40-60 cm high with at least 12 good mature leaves and of pencil thickness are taken for planting in field. Before plants are removed from nursery, they are hardened by gradual exposure to full sun. Transportation of the plants to the planting site in field is done with utmost care and only after proper labelling. This is a very delicate operation and needs adequate planning and proper supervision. Correctly planted tea plants establish in the field quickly, grow vigorously and come into full bearing earlier.
Proper plucking of Tea leaves is as unique as its flavour. As true quality is inherent in a good raw material (Tea Leaf), great emphasis is given to plucking. Special flavours are generated by maintaining fine plucking standards. Plucking in tea is synonymous with harvesting in other crops. The apical portions of shoots consisting of 2-3 leaves and the terminal buds are nipped off in plucking. The plucked shoots are manufactured to produce tea. Removal of the apical portion of a tea shoot stimulates growth of the dormant leaf and buds below the apex. There are three plucking systems presently in vogue but whatever may be the plucking system, the harvested leaf should not be coarse as coarse leaf is harmful for quality of the product.
3. Tea Factory
Withering: Withering is the first processing step in the factory and is a process in which freshly plucked leaf is conditioned physically, as well as, chemically for subsequent processing stages. As known, in planter’s perception, “Withering makes or mars the tea”. This is one of the most important tea processing steps, as a desired quality in tea manufacturing is ensured by maintaining the desired level of withering. Various ingenious systems of withering have been used but of these the Trough withering is the most popular system currently being used all over the world. The troughs are of two types – Open trough and Enclosed trough. It is, however, more convenient to load and unload leaf in the open troughs and it is easier to check the progress of wither. Therefore, open troughs are still popular in the industry. In the open type of trough, leaf is spread at a given thickness and air is blown upwards from the bottom of the perforated bed. This is the method being used at Octavius too.
Fermentation: A great deal of attention is paid to regulate the temperature, humidity and the duration of fermentation to ensure that the flavour of the tea remains intact.
Firing/Drying: To get the best quality of our tea, the tea leaves are fired at optimally regulated temperature. Good care is taken not to over-cook the leaves as the process of drying of the produced tea is responsible for addition of flavor to the tea.
Grading: Grading is done by sifting through meshes with a lot of care so that the teas are sorted into different shapes and sizes perfectly. Weighing and Packing: Close inspection is done while the teas are weighed and packed into tea chests or paper sacks or poly pouches for retailing and exports.
4. Tea Tasting
The Tea Tasting session is an occasion to learn more about tea, while exploring the diversity and quality of teas we have to offer. Information on the unique character of each tea, the type of cultivar, its origin, and the infusion method will be provided as we taste.