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Orthodox Production

30 November 2010

at 20:41 by François Alexis Roy

The method called “Orthodox” is an industrial technique of processing black tea developed by the British in North-East India around 1860. It was in China during the seventeenth century, that the first black teas appeared, transformed manually by artisans in numerous steps. The British forced by economics wanted to create their own tea industry. So as to develop simpler techniques they mechanized the whole process of transformation. The “Orthodox” method is the first industrial technique and is still used today for the transformation of many of the tea world’s finest harvests. Darjeeling Teas are all processed with this method.

This technique has the advantage of allowing an interesting compromise between productivity and quality. It requires expertise and intuition, but allows better control of different variables that affect the chemistry of the leaf during processing. One can thus obtain higher quality black teas, more complex and unique flavour profiles than other more heavily industrialized processing techniques such as CTC.

Enjoy some orthodox tea!

Orthodox Tea Production Rolling Machine

Machine used to roll the leaves in Orthodox production

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“Tippy Assam” orthodox teas

26 November 2010

at 13:49 by john

P-126 (Panetola126) is the clone used for most of the fancy “Tippy Assam” orthodox teas. It has a very large bud and a small leaf which gives that very tippy style of finished tea -full of golden buds. P-126 came in to use in the late 70s early 80s and was developed by the TRA at Tocklai. As a plant it is very hard to get started as it grows slowly and is popular with all insects. The soft tasty bark is also popular with goats. It has a shorter lifespan than most of the other cultivars by around 10 years living to 60-65 years instead of 70-75. It does not make good CTC and is really only good for making Orthodox FTGFOP in Assam growing conditions.

Producing a good Orthodox whole leaf Assam with this type of cultivar gives us a chance to enjoy the potential complexities of this rich leaf. The complications of growing it and the relatively small yield require a superior market price but with record breaking Assam prices in this year’s Kolkata auctions that doesn’t seem to be a problem.

Assam Halmari Or-211
Assam Halmari Or-245

Images of the P126 from Duflating and Halmari, Two gardens that excel in Tippy Assams

P126 Tippy Assam

Halmari T.E.

P126 Tippy Assam tea garden

Assam tea plants

Duflating

Assam tea field workers

Tasting maocha

4 November 2010

at 16:05 by François Alexis Roy

Old tea tree - Yunnan

After the tea leaves undergo a transformation roughly similar to that of green tea, a loose leaf tea is formed that is used to make post-fermented tea (黑茶). This material is called maocha (毛茶). This organic material has not undergone aging and has not yet been compressed into cakes or bricks (or other shapes), as is often the case for Pu er tea (普洱 市) facilitating conservation and storage.

It is possible to taste the raw tea at the Camellia Sinensis Tea House. We returned from China in 2009 with the Pu Er 2009 Mengsong Maocha. This tea is 100% hand-picked leaves from tea bushes more than one hundred years old. These leaves are exclusively from Mengsong (勐 宋 山) (one of the famous mountains of Xisuangbanna (西双版纳), one of the most highly reputed regions of Yunnan (云南) for Pu er tea (普洱茶)) and has been purchased in the village itself by our team of taster-importers. For hundreds of years this has been the traditional brew of the villagers, simply by adding hot water to a handful of leaves in a metal cup.

Maocha is very different from a mature, aged tea. Offering a golden yellow liquor, softer and more delicate, young and green. Sweet, very fruity and with a refreshing menthol aroma, it is soft and rustic at the same time. Flavors of fresh almonds and sweet flowers, complex and tangy, apricot and citrus notes are contrasted by leather and camphor … A tea reminiscent of Oolong (乌龙茶) Chinese style Dan Cong (单 丛) and 1st flush Indian Darjeeling.

We have also had made compressed cakes of 250 grams of maocha bought in Mengsong, and already it is substantially different from the loose leaf variety.
I invite you to compare the difference …

Enjoy!

 
 

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