Monday, May 29, 2023

T Stands for the Tea Plantation-Part 2

 Hi everyone. I hope that everyone has had a great week since last T day. Today (Monday) is the Memorial Day holiday here in the US. It has cooled off nicely, but yesterday (Sunday) it definitely felt like summer.I even went for my first swim of the year, but the water was COLD. 😀

Last week (for T over at Bleubeard's and Elizabeth's blog) I showed you the tea fields at the Bigelow Tea Plantation in Charleston , South Carolina. The other thing that you could do at this tea plantation was visit the room where the drinking tea was actually produced. This was a self-guided tour.

But first an interesting historical sign.

They weren't making any tea when we visited as they were just beginning their first cut of the season. (No tea is cut over the winter.)  Here's a brief description of what happens to the leaves to get them to be tea ready to steep in your glass. 

It all begins when the leaves are brought to  the withering bed. The withering bed is where the drying of the tea leaves actually begins.  In this process
various chemicals in the tea leaves (like caffeine) increase in concentration, water is removed, the cells begin to break down, and  increased permeability to the cells in the tea leaves is created. 

I found this diagram online about how this machine works. I believe the tea is on top of the mesh netting.

The tea leaves are still whole when they go through and then leave the withering bed. The next step in tea production is to put the dehydrated  tea leaves through the rotovane. This machine takes the withered leaves and distorts them. It does this so that oxidation can happen.
Through oxidation the various tea flavors are produced. 

To get the various flavors tea can have,  the cells in the tea leaves need to be broken open. This allows oxygen to reach the inner chemicals which produce the flavors of tea. A rotovane rolls and distorts the leaves and that opens the cell walls, allowing the oxygen to enter and get to the inner cell chemicals.

How long oxidation occurs produces many of the various types of tea. To stop oxidation the tea leaves are then heated up. The more time that passes before you heat the leaves, the darker the tea will be with more oxidation. Green and white  teas use the least amount of oxidation time and the leaves stay green. Black teas use the most and the leaves actually turn black or brown in the process.

After oxidation has stopped, the leaves go to be dried. Once that is finished they can be packaged either as loose tea or tea bags. The resulting leaves can also be separated and sorted depending on the company producing it.

I would have been fun to see the tea leaves actually going through the machines.

And I'll end today's post by making myself a cup of tea in the new mug I bought. The tea is from a bag I bought at the tea plantation. Some of you might recognize the Buc-ee! image on the mug. This highway rest area phenomenon was also a new place for me as we don't have any of these in New England (at least as far as I've noticed). I think they sell just about everything at a Buc-ee’s. I bought myself a mug to drink my new tea in. The beaver is  silly, but I like the mug because the yellow is bright. It’s also a big mug and comfortable in my hand so I can enjoy lots of tea in it. 

That's all for me this week. I won't be around next week for T as my husband and I are off to Iceland for the next 11 days. It's my second trip to the island, his first. We're leaving tomorrow (Tuesday)  morning, so if you postTuesday it might take me a bit to get to your post. I'm just apologizing in advance.  I'll see you for T in 2 weeks, and I hope you lovely T day ladies (and everyone else)  have a super T day too and the next 2 weeks. 


Tom said...

...I've heard about Buc-ee’s, sounds like an amazing place.

Amila said...

Thanks for taking us on your tea plantation tour. It is really interesting to see how tea is made from the plantation to the factory until we receive it. Beautiful mug too.
Have a nice time in Iceland. Wish you a Happy and safe journey!

Kate Yetter said...

Loved seeing more of the process!
Have fun in Iceland, I hear it is beautiful!
HAppy Tea Day,

nwilliams6 said...

Wow, the tea making is much more complicated than I imagined. Thanks for sharing all that.

I love Buc-ees - they are so fun. We have one about an hour away and are hoping a closer one comes soon.

Have fun in Iceland. Such a great vacation - lucky you!!! Stay safe!

Hugz, Erika, and happy T-day.

kathyinozarks said...

This was so interesting-thank you. and I love your new mug too-what an awesome tour this was-Happy T and new week hugs Kathy

kathyinozarks said...

Oh and have fun our your two week trip-how exciting-hugs

hels said...

The historical sign is very helpful, especially for those of us who don't know Sth Carolina.

Angie's Recipes said...

Hopefully I will get to visit a tea plantation one day. Have a fabulous vacation in Iceland.

J said...

Amazing visit and how clean they keep everything too.
Enjoy your trip
Happy T Day Jan S

Iris Flavia said...

Yay to a swim!!! I still have to wait till February.
Thank you for the tea-lesson - it really is very interesting. And I love tea :-)
Enjoy your holiday! Hugs

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Have a wonderful time in Iceland - I am sure you will. The year before COVID struck, Miriam went there with her daughter, they rented a car and drove around the island at will, stopping at so many beautiful spots and seeing incredible wildlife. Other than a layover between flights at Reykjavik I have never had the pleasure. Still not too late perhaps, although with trips to western Canada and Cuba planned for this year, it's not going to happen any time soon! Hugs - David

CJ Kennedy said...

This was so fascinating. Happy T Day and have a wonderful and safe trip.

Valerie-Jael said...

Have a wonderful time in Iceland, and come back safe and sound and with LOTS of lovely photos, please! Hugs, Valerie

Christine said...

Oh wow enjoy Iceland! We take tea for granted, thanks for sharing the process.

martine said...

HI. My partner bought me a tea bush for my birthday, they have been developed in Cornwall to grow in the British climate. I am so excited to nurture it and maybe in 5 to 10 years of careful growing and pruning I will have my own home grown tea.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Like you, I would have loved to see the tea being processed. However, it was still fun to see the various stages the tea leaves went through.

I've never heard of Buc-ee, so that was new to me, too. However, I liked the mug. Thanks for sharing the rest of the plantation and processes the leaves go through to get to our mugs and cups for T this Tuesday, dear Erika.

Have fun in Iceland.

Divers and Sundry said...

What a fascinating tour! It's all new to me. I hadn't even realized tea was grown in this country, much less what the modern process was. Cool! Thanks!

I look forward to hearing about Iceland. Exciting!

Happy T Tuesday

craftytrog said...

Looks like a great place to visit Erika. We visited a tea plantation when we were in Kerala a few years ago, it was very interesting to see the different processes.

Sharon Madson said...

Very interesting. I was reading some mystery books that featured a teashop owner in Charleston and they bought some of their specialty teas from a Charleston plantation, so this post is interesting. Have a wonderful time in Iceland!

Meggymay said...

Oh my I have enjoyed my catch up and as a tea drinker the posts on your visit to the tea plantation have really appealed to me.
Have a great trip to Iceland.
Yvonne xx

Aimeslee Winans said...

Oh my gosh, you went to the Texas Phenomenon! Ha! My town got one about 5 years ago. The founder lives 20 minutes down the road. The restroom better have been clean, it's what they are known for, among other things. And wow, what a tea party. Your tour report was cool, will have to show to Honey. Right now we are into Bigelow Japanese Matcha Green Tea. I know you are going to have fun in Iceland. It'll be green there, I know that because I learned a while back that Iceland is green and Greenland has isn't. Now that's a history's mystery, hmm... Be sure to take plenty of photos, I know you will! XOX P.S. I think the beaver is pretty lame but when you are on a deserted stretch of I-10 and need to pee, seeing him is a very good thing! heehee XOX

Empire of the Cat said...

I loved this tour Erika, I enjoyed last week's too and then couldn't comment. I will try again today. I love to take tours like this and of course I love tea! Hope you enjoy your trip to Iceland, have a fabulous time. Sorry I'm late, having commenting problems with blogger.
Happy T Day! Elle/EOTC xx

pearshapedcrafting said...

This was an interesting post, not enough to turn me into a tea drinker though I'll be sticking with coffee and my new Summer favourite Tonic with lemon, hugs Chrisx ps hoping to see lots of Iceland pics soon