The art of tea making depends on the skills of growers, pickers and makers. We therefore focus on all three aspects with precision.
Selecting the right cultivars of tea plants to suit our land and soil was the first step to make quality tea. From purchasing the saplings from Coonoor in 1992 to developing our own saplings of tea plants on our nursery in the later years, we have planted and continued to expand our tea gardens with the most adaptive cultivars. Currently, we grow clones of tea from United Planters Association of South India (UPASI) in our fields.
With the proper cultivar, it is also necessary to maintain the tea garden in terms of weed control and pruning at regular intervals, and providing a fertile soil for the plants to grow. Our methods in natural farming help us in these fronts sustainably.
In addition, we enrich the soil in our tea gardens by intercropping techniques. Pepper and silver rock trees are a major intercrop in our gardens. We also have clove, lemon, and gooseberry trees and hibiscus plants, among the tea plants, which not only increases nutrient value of our teas but also increases biodiversity on our land and thus helping us build a more sustainable and nature friendly ecosystem.
Tea picking plays an important role in the process of making good tea... Picking the right leaves, at right intervals is not only important for the made tea, but also to the tea plants.
Handpicking enables us to select the tea leaves according to the requirement of each tea, without compromising on the integrity of the new growths of the tea plants. Further, a benefit of handpicking is that it sorts the leaves at picking and no foreign elements enter the harvest. Although costly, labour intensive and time consuming, handpicking can ensure higher quality of tea leaves harvested and in quality of made teas especially loose leaf teas.
A process requiring mastery and passion, tea making, the traditional way, is no less than a carefully crafted piece of art. In our mini tea factory at Palar, we use the orthodox way of tea making which includes withering, rolling, fermenting and drying for black teas and steaming process for green tea and the dehydration process of white tea making for the same.
The craft was perfected over time to adapt to the climate, temperature and humidity levels of our land so that our tea does not compromise on taste, aroma and flavour.